The Finance Audit Committee discussed a new bond issue Wednesday to fund the I-35 and Covell capital improvement projects.
“Within the capital projects fund, we have a growing revenue source for the sales tax,” said Steve Commons, assistant city manager. “As it grows, it allows us to have more abilities to borrow funds and then package for projects.”
The city’s sales tax revenue is 20.57 percent above the same July and August period a year ago, a figure based on the 3.25 percent base rate. The city budget projects sales tax revenue increase of 3 percent.
“The last six months (of sales tax revenue) have all been above our budget allowance,” said Ross VanderHamm, city finance director.
Commons said a city could accumulate money over the years without issuing debt. But the City of Edmond has tended to issue projects that are more time-sensitive in scope for finance purposes, he said.
“What we’re proposing with this debt issuance is to cut short that debt issuance. Instead of doing a 20-year debt, do a 10-year debt,” Commons said. “We think that the growth in the sales tax revenue could support another bond issuance in the neighborhood of $13 million.”
Mayor Charles Lamb said it would be prudent for the city to act on a new bond before interest rate go up.
City staff has not yet dedicated a new bond issuance for a certain section of Covell, Commons said. Remaining work on Covell involves the Sooner Road interchange going west to the railroad tracks. City staff is already designing construction on Covell going east from Sooner to the interstate, Commons said.
A current price tag for finishing the Covell project at $10 million to $20 million a mile involves ever-changing inflation cost adjustments, Commons said.
“A lot of it has to do with moving pipelines. Getting right-of-way to do that can be very expensive.” he said.
Plans call for the road elevation at Sooner Road and Covell to be elevated 7 feet higher than it is now. Hills are cut down to fill in the gullies. Covell will not only be four lanes, but some sections will have center median type roadway.
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