Albany City Council got somewhat of an early Christmas present at its final regular meeting of 2012, held last Tuesday, December 4 at city hall with all council members present.
Albany Mayor Nicky Smith, in a press release, announced that refinancing of the city’s utility bonds, specifically water and sewer, could result in a long-term savings of nearly $1 million dollars.
The release states, “The City of Albany recently refinanced all of its outstanding utility (water/sewer) debt reducing the average interest rate from 4.60 percent to 2.80 percent. The City also shortened the term of the financing by 10 years. The combined shorter term and lower interest rate worked together to save the city over $975,000 during the remaining term of the financing. Because the savings are spread over the term of the financing, the city’s utility system (water/sewer) will now be in much better shape for future generations.
The City participated in the newly created financing program offered by the Kentucky League of Cities, the Kentucky Bond Corporation, with the assistance of Ross Sinclaire and Associates acting as financial advisor. The financing closed November 28 and the city began realizing savings immediately.”
Mayor Smith said, “I am pleased we could take advantage of these lower interest rates to save our citizens money.”
The council also heard a project update from Monarch engineer David Bowles, who noted all three phases of the bypass utility line relocation was either 99 percent or totally complete, with clean-up now taking place on the final phase toward the Tennessee line. That cleanup should be completed by the end of the month.
Also, Bowles said engineers were working with the local water/sewer system officials on ways to save money on electric costs to operate the facilities and also touched on the need to repair or replace some older water lines, depending on financing.
Mayor Smith also asked the council to consider reviewing the city’s ordinance pertaining to nuisance properties inside the city limits. He inferred the current ordinance didn’t have enough legal clout to handle some of the nuisance problems.
Currently, the city cleans up the properties, primarily at its own expense, with little reimbursement to property owners. Although liens can be placed on the property, no further legal actions are ever taken.
The mayor suggested a possible committee made up of council members to review surrounding cities’ property nuisance ordinances and make some changes to the local ordinance, making it more stricter on the property owners who allow their properties to become nuisance areas.
Councilman Tony Delk then questioned whether or not the Welcome to Albany sign north of Albany near the park, that was torn down a few months ago, was going to be replaced. Mayor Smith said the sign would be replaced, as well as an additional welcome sign to be placed in west Albany near the hospital.
After Councilwoman Tonya Thrasher commended city employees for the recent work they had done in the city, including repairing water leaks and replacing sidewalks, the council and mayor wished citizens a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Following the meeting being adjourned, the mayor and council presented outgoing Councilwoman Mary Faye Stockton a plaque of appreciation for her service on the city council.
Also, Clinton District Judge James M. “Mike” Lawson came to the meeting to conduct the swearing in ceremony, giving the oath of office to the six city council members who were elected last month and will officially begin duties on January 1, 2013.