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City Approves Bond for Cleveland Utilities
by Ashley Murphy

Monday, November 1, 2010

The City Council held the conclusion to last Monday's meeting earlier this morning to discuss the $8.75 million in bonds that the City of Cleveland will be taking out for Cleveland Utilities for various projects around the city.

Joe Ayers of Morgan Keegan, the City's financial advisor, presented several different options for the city to choose from that could best serve the city and the taxpayers. Several councilmen were against variable rate loans due to the fluctuating market and didn't wish to enter the city's debt into anymore potential trouble. There was also an issue of multiple fees and add-ons that would accompany certain proposals.

Upon hearing the concerns, Ayers gave 5-year and 7-year fixed loans options. However, the entire loan would be set on a 20-year basis, leaving the remaining 15 and 13 years to be renegotiated, possibly resulting in higher interest rates for those remaining years.

The first five years of the 5-year fixed loan would be placed at 2.36% and the first seven years of the &-year fixed loan would be 2.76%.

After several questions and concerns were made known, Ayers gave his recommendation to the Council as to what he believed the best route would be; A 20-year fixed rate loan at 2.95%. While this number is considerable higher, both council and financial advisor agreed that the 20-year fixed loan could save the city hundreds of thousands in the end.

Councilman Bill Estes made the motion to accept the 20-year fixed rate option and the City Council agreed unanimously.

Before adjourning the meeting, the council had a quick discussion regarding holiday hours for city offices. At this time, the schedule is as follows:

Closed - November 11th in observance of Veteran's Day
Closed - November 25th and 26th in observance of Thanksgiving
Closed - December 24th and December 27th in observance of Christmas
Closed - December 31st and January 3rd in observance of New Year's

Councilman Richard Banks stated he had several residents call and complain about the city offices being closed on the last day of the year, New Year's Eve, because they couldn't pay their taxes in person. After this was brought up, it was suggested that the city and county keep a skeleton crew working on New Year's Eve to accommodate those residents who wish to stop by and pay a bill. This will be announced at a later date, after the city and county discuss the matter.

The City Council will meet again on Monday, November 8th for a work session at 2 p.m. and a regular session at 4p.m. in the Municipal Building on Church Street.