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Kalamazoo plans to issue $68M in bonds for city improvements

The city of Kalamazoo is planning to issue bonds in three categories that total $68.25 million, to fund improvements to the city’s water and wastewater system, and make capital improvements.

At a March 2 meeting, the Kalamazoo City Commission adopted three “notice of intent” resolutions, for the issuance of 2020 Capital Improvement Bonds up to $11.75 million; 2020 Water Supply System Revenue Bonds up to $45.5 million and 2020 Wastewater System Revenue Bonds of up to $11 million.

The fiscal year 2020 budget calls for capital improvements to be undertaken by debt, and the action items recomended to the commission describe what will be funded in the three categories.

The capital improvement bonds will fund construction for major street and local street improvements, traffic signal upgrades; acquiring, constructing, furnishing and equipping public safety facilities improvements; parks and recreation improvements; acquiring information technology equipment; and acquiring public services and public safety equipment, the recommendation states.

The bonds related to the utility systems are tied to a “tremendous increase in infrastructure investment,” Kalamazoo Department of Public Services Director James Baker said.

Wastewater improvements include new and replacement mains, treatment plant improvements and other facilities improvements, the city said.

Water supply system improvements will include water main and service line improvements and replacements, elevated storage, booster improvements, and well replacement and water meter improvements. The bonds for water supply improvements will be sourced using $22 million in standard revenue bonds and $23.5 million in drinking water revolving fund (DWRF) bonds through the state of Michigan, the city said.

The utility work includes two water main expansions in Cooper Township and another in Richland Township, and additional lead service line replacements, Baker said. Other improvements will be made to the water treatment system and at points of treatment within the system, he said. Cork Street and Oakland Drive will have utility work as part of planned projects there, he said. A new water tower will be built in Texas Township, Baker said.

“It all comes down to system reliability,” Baker said, “and ensuring we continue to provide the best in water quality.”

The city commission held a work session in January to hear a presentation about proposed utility rate increases, and later approved the new utility rates that will support the work, Baker said.

“Now you’re seeing the request for bonding to pay for that work,” Baker said. After they are approved, projects will go out for bid and bids will be awarded, he said.

Approving the resolutions begins the process of issuing the debt. The resolution requires that a Notice of Intent to issue debt be published in the Kalamazoo Gazette. The Bonds can be issued without a vote of the city electors unless a petition is filed with the city clerk within 45 days of publication of the notice with signatures from 10% of the electorate. If the referendum period expires without referendum petitions being submitted, the city could sell the bonds in April 2020.


Posted By: mlive on March 2, 2020.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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