Valpo public works bonds move ahead - barely

2013-07-08T18:11:00Z 2013-07-08T21:09:09Z Valpo public works bonds move ahead - barelyPhil Wieland phil.wieland@nwi.com, (219) 548-4352 nwitimes.com

VALPARAISO | A seemingly routine resolution to begin setting up a building corporation to issue bonds for financing the new public works campus barely passed after a debate at Monday's City Council meeting.

Mayor Jon Costas told the City Council the resolution was preliminary but needed in order to keep on the schedule of closing on the bonds Oct. 3. Costas said the council would have several more opportunities to hold public hearings and halt the whole process if it was not satisfied.

While using a building corporation to issue bonds for construction projects is commonly used by school and some municipalities, no one could recall a time when Valparaiso had ever done so. Councilmen questioned who would appoint the corporation board and what power the City Council could have in making appointments.

Councilmen Mike Baird, John Bowker and Joey Larr also wanted more information on the costs and financing of the project, which Chester Inc. has estimated at $4.8 million while the maximum amount of bonds the corporation could issue would be $5.25 million.

"As a banker for 35 years, I'm used to seeing figures of what is going into a project," Baird said. "I'm just trying to make sure we are comfortable and we understand what the construction budget is."

Costas said the city's financial adviser Carl Cender used conservative estimates on what the interest rates would be when he made his projections earlier this year.

The final vote to move the process along was 4 to 3 with Larr, Bowker and Baird opposed. Costas promised to provide answers to all the council's questions and concerns by the July 22 meeting.

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