St. John acts on road bond measures

2014-06-26T20:27:00Z 2014-06-26T23:55:45Z St. John acts on road bond measuresBy Phil Wieland, (219) 548-4352

ST. JOHN | The town is several steps closer to issuing $5.2 million in bonds to pay for about 20 miles of road improvements.

The town council, meeting first as the redevelopment commission, held a public hearing on the lease with the newly appointed Redevelopment Authority, which will hold the bonds. The bonds will be paid off using a portion of the town's share of the county economic development income tax and a portion of its cumulative capital development revenue.

The commission then approved a sublease with the council before the council, then meeting as the council, held a public hearing on the lease. After approving the lease, the council held a public hearing on re-establishing the CCD fund at the five-cent maximum allowed by state law. No one spoke at either public hearing.

Town Manager Steve Kil said the CCD tax, which the town has used for decades to pay for needed equipment without having to borrow, was one cent per $100 of assessed valuation. It has fluctuated over the years, dropping as the town's total assessed value rises as a result of development. The one-cent tax raised about $138,000 a year, while the five-cent rate will raise $489,000.

The increase will cost the owner of a home with a $100,000 net assessed value after all the deductions about $40 more a year, or a total of $50. That amount will decrease as development continues, Kil said. The town plans to use the portion of the CCD tax that does not go toward the bond payment to buy a couple of new snow plows next year, he said.

The council then approved a sublease between the redevelopment commission and the town to authorize the payments for the bonds. The redevelopment authority will meet July 10 to act on the final approval of the lease and the bond issue. Then the town can go out for bids on the bonds.

Councilman Mark Barenie, chairman of the redevelopment commission, read two emails from residents supporting the plan to do the much-needed road work through the bond issue. Residents have until July 30 to file objections to the bond issue.

The town expects to begin advertising for bids for the road work July 7. Kil said contractors were doing borings of the roads this week to determine the best mix. If no objections are received to the bond, the bids will be opened July 31, and contracts are expected to be awarded Aug. 14, two days after the sale of the bonds. The road work is expected to take about two months to complete.

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