That figure is down significantly from the $24 million in projects the city council had been considering as late as last week.
“We were not completely agreed as to a project list. A couple of the projects were still undefined,” said Councilman Rich Dippolito as he proposed paring down the dollar amount of a bond referendum. “They were conceptual ideas and I thought we were getting too far ahead of ourselves.” The council had to approve a call for a referendum on Monday night in order to meet the deadline for the November ballot.
Dippolito proposed the $14.7 million should be split into three categories: infrastructure; recreation, parks and cultural; and public safety. In the infrastructure category would be $8.7 million that would be earmarked for four improvement projects at the Holcomb Bridge Road/Ga. 400 interchange.
Replacing some grass ball fields with synthetic turf, a new pool and fitness room at the adult recreation center and multiuse trails on Eves Road and Holcomb Bridge Road would fall into the second “bucket,” which would have $4.5 million. Finally, building a new fire station to replace Station 4 would be funded with $1.5 million from the public safety category. Projects that were cut from the referendum are expansion of the Cultural Arts Center and a non-specific anchor economic development project.
Though the Cultural Arts Committee does have the beginnings of a plan for the center, some council members last week said they wanted more precise information.
Councilwoman Betty Price wasn’t totally happy with the smaller list.
“I’m sort of concerned a lot of items are wants, not needs,” she said. Price said she would have preferred some bond money for the Historic Gateway project that would, among other accomplishments, remove the reversible lanes on Atlanta Street.
But Dippolito noted that the Gateway project was still in the very early stages and would not qualify for the bond. Projects on the list would have to be “shovel ready” to meet the bank terms, he said.
According to the city’s finance director, Keith Lee, the cost of borrowing now is minimal enough that the municipal tax rate won’t be affected.
Roswell is poised to pay off existing bonds and retire that debt service, which is part of the current tax rate of 5.455 mills. Debt for a new bond could be folded into the existing tax rate.
Council members voted unanimously to put the $14.7 million bond question to voters in November.