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February 14, 2013

Council issues certificates of obligation

GREENVILLE — The Greenville City Council voted Tuesday to issue about $2.4 million in certificates of obligation to pay for renovating the animal shelter and buy new software for the police department.

The funds will also be used to pay for several other items which had been on the city’s “to do” list for years, according to Council member Dan Perkins.

“There’s a lot of things in this package that have been put off and put off and put off,” Perkins said. “These are just basic things that we need to get done.”

While the vote was unanimous to approve the sale, Mayor Pro Tem Jeffrey Dailey said the estimated cost for the work to the animal shelter gave him “a little bit of heartburn.”

The project has been considered for about two years. A May 2011 estimate came in at around $450,000, but an estimated obtained last month put the cost at $667,000.

“I just don’t see how that thing has gone up that much in 12 months,” Dailey said, also raising concerns about paying $131,000 for four mowers for the Parks and Recreation Department. Dailey said there had been discussion about contracting out the mowing costs in the future.

“I don’t think it is going to be smart to buy new mowers if we are going to contract out with somebody,” Dailey said.

City Manager Steven Alexander explained that Parks and Recreation Director Colby VanGundy had previously explained how contracting out the work would not save the city an appreciable amount, plus there would be a loss of control of the work by the city.

“It is not cheaper to contract it out,” Perkins agreed.

As for the animal control facility, Finance Director Cliff Copeland mentioned the newest bids also included two “alternates” which had not been part of the earlier estimate, but which engineers who drew up the project recommended be added.

“We’re going to have to do it anyway, two years down the road,” Copeland.

Alexander said the city could go out for bids on the project again if Dailey wanted.

“You could get lower bids, you could get higher bids,” Alexander said.

“If you rebid, you could be looking at a crazier price,” Perkins explained.

Steven Adams with Specialized Public Finance told the Council the city took bids on the certificates from six different banks on February 7.

“It saved us about $15,000 in issuance costs and we got some very good bids,” Adams said.

American National Bank was the winning bidder on the $2,425,000 in certificates of obligation, at 1.78 percent.

“Which is a very, very good rate,” Adams said, adding the sale is expected to close on March 13.

“And you will receive the money for your projects,” Adams said.

The certificates also included $40,000 for renovations at Oak Creek Park, $150,000 for a training tower, mobile data terminals and software for the fire department, $890,000 for records management software and a crime scene trailer for the police department, along with $426,000 for a gradall unit and a three-quarter ton truck for the Streets Department.

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