The city of St. Charles is a week closer to locking in the bond rates for about $9.8 million in general obligation bonds whose proceeds will be used for the divisive Red Gate Bridge project, mitigation of the damage from the emerald ash borer and a separate refinancing of older bonds to save the city on interest payments.
Finance Director Chris Minick told the City Council during its Aug. 20 meeting that the city should be able to lock in the interest rates on the bond issues by Sept. 4.
During that meeting, the City Council Government Operations Committee advanced the package of bond issues, which Minick said totaled:
- $6.6 million for the completion of the Red Gate Road bridge project, which began last year with site preparation and began construction in earnest in April. The long-envisioned project has drawn fierce critics and staunch supporters over the years, and is expected to open Dec. 15, some 84 years after it first was proposed. The pedestrian/bike bridge are scheduled to open in the spring of 2013. The city last year already had set aside $6.9 million for the project, whose total cost is $30 million.
- $2.7 million for the mitigation project requiring the removal and replacement of trees due to the infestation of the emerald ash borer.
- A refinancing of two older bond issues totaling as much as $15.7 million to take advantage of lower interest rates and related costs. Minick told the council last week the move would save the city $1.2 million on interest payments.
Minick said the bonds for the Red Gate Bridge will be repaid with three revenue sources:
The 5-cent per $100 of equalized assessed valuation on property;
Additional payments from the city’s water and electrical utility funds. Minick explained that improvements are being made to the city’s water and electrical utilities as part of the construction of the bridge, which is why monies from those two funds are being used to help repay the bonds.
The interest rate for the Red Gate bonds is expected to be 2.9 percent over the 20-year life of the bonds.
The bon issue related to the ash borer would be paid off in 10 years at an interest rate of about 2 percent.
Also during the Aug. 20 City Council meeting, Mayor Donald P. DeWitte swore in two firefighters who were bring promoted.
Marty Friel, a longtime St. Charles firefighter, was promoted from lieutenant to battalion chief during the meeting, and firefighter Jeremy Mauthe was promoted to lieutenant.