Portage OKs $3.5 million bond issue to fix streets

2014-04-05T18:25:00Z 2014-04-05T21:01:21Z Portage OKs $3.5 million bond issue to fix streetsJoyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | The City Council has approved a $3.5 million bond issue to pave and repair city streets.

It may sound like a lot of money, but A.J. Monroe, director of community development, told the Traffic Commission recently that the estimate to repave Airport Road is about $700,000, and Lute Road between Airport and Willowcreek roads could be another $200,000 to $300,000.

The council last week also directed the Traffic Commission to review paving projects and make recommendations to the Board of Works. The commission on Thursday passed that authority on to staff members including Monroe to forward on to the works board as quickly as possible to prevent delaying the process.

The city plans to approach Porter County for the five-year bond, which also will speed the process. However, the soonest money would be in hand, contracts awarded and paving underway would be June or July, said officials.

Council members also agreed on the need for the bond issue, but there was some concern on the affects on the city's budget.

Clerk-Treasurer Chris Stidham told the council earlier in the evening that he was projecting the city's budget to have a deficit of more than $800,000 by years end based on present expenditures.

Stidham said the payments on the five-year bond issue would be about $740,000 per year.

Mayor James Snyder said he is developing a plan to meet the annual payments including using $125,000 from the motor vehicle highway fund, $125,000 from the Redevelopment Commission and $250,000 in CEDIT tax money. Snyder said he believes there will also be additional money in health insurance savings and he is working with the Indiana Department of Transportation on a contract that would reimburse the city for sweeping state highways within the city's limits.

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