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Few make it to bond information meeting
by Joan Durbin
October 03, 2012 02:24 PM | 2359 views | 1 1 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On Monday, a night when north Fulton was subjected to rain, wind and a tornado watch, city staff considerably outnumbered residents at the second of three public information meetings on the city’s upcoming bond referendum.

The weather probably played a role in the scant turnout, said City Administrator Kay Love, but it also may be that comprehensive information on the proposed bond projects has already been available to residents for several weeks.

“It’s not like the information hasn’t been out there. This is an opportunity for people to bring any questions they may have,” she said.

On Nov. 6, residents will be asked if they want to approve the issuance of a $14.7 million bond to pay for capital improvements. The project list identified by city council includes significant improvements to the intersection of Holcomb Bridge Road and Ga. 400; a new fire station to replace the too-small, decaying facility at 1601 Holcomb Bridge Road; upgrades to the adult recreation center such as a therapeutic indoor pool; construction of multi-use trails east of Ga. 400; and replacing grass with synthetic turf on up to four athletic fields.

Arbor Creek residents Carol and Gary Long looked at each of the project boards and had conversations with many staff members. Carol Long said she was still undecided on how she would vote.

“All the projects sound good. In general, though, it’s just like TSPLOST. I have a glimmer of distrust with what the government is going to do what they say they are going to do with the money,” she said. “Also, I’m an accountant and in general, I don’t like debt.”

“Roswell has done a great job making this a good city to live in. I bike and we use the trails a lot. I have a better trust level than she does,” said her husband, who is president of his homeowners association.

Sandy and Tom Hanlon, who live in Stonebridge, also braved the inclement weather to peruse the projects. One in particular was important, she said.

“I really want to see the swimming pool go in at the adult recreation center. We have so many people who are in pain and it would help,” she said. “The other thing is I want to know where we are going to get the money.”

The question asks about a bond for a total of $14.7 million rather than breaking out individual projects with dollar amounts attached, and Sandy Hanlon expressed a concern about the wording. “They bundled all of them together, which is not too good.”

In the long run, it would be less expensive to pay back a bond then it would be to pay as you go, according to Roswell’s finance director, Keith Lee.

“The interest and fees on $14.7 million over a 10-year term is $1.65 million. If the city constructs the projects with bond money, it will cost a total of $16.3 million in principal, interest and fees over the 10-year term of the bond,” he said in a statement.

“However if the city does not issue bonds and saved the money to pay for the proposed projects over a 10-year term, it would cost the city approximately $17.9 million to construct the projects based on current inflation figures. By issuing bonds, the city will save $1.6 million.”

The all-inclusive wording of the bond question is a financial package that is most advantageous for the city, Lee said. “Strategically, it was put together this way so we could get the most done with the least amount of financing cost.”

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