Rushford Council approves bond sale

By : 
Scott Bestul

The City of Rushford City Council enjoyed a rather abbreviated agenda for its May 28 meeting, but packed a lot of information into the one-hour session. The main topic was the sale of bonds to finance upcoming street and utility projects. The council also received an update on flood plain mapping.

Bond sale

As the city prepares for upcoming projects on Walnut St, N. Burr Oak St., E. Grove St., and Lamplighter’s Lane, the council considered the sale of General Obligation Improvement and Utility Revenue bonds in the amount of $1,825,000, which would meet the anticipated cost of $1,754,969.

To facilitate the bond sale, the city has retained David Drown Associates, Inc., and financial consultant Mike Bubany, addressed the council with an update. “We received proposals from three companies,” Bubany said. Among the bidders were Robert W. Baird, Northland Securities, and United Bankers Bank. The latter company bid separately at the net rate of 2.27% over ten years, and Bubany recommended their bid. “United Bankers called to tell me they were bidding separately, from the others, and that was good news to me,” Bubany said. “Many times, bidders will go in on a sale like this together, behind the scenes.” Bubany noted that the latter situation offers him less room for negotiations and concessions.

While the city was hoping to attain an A+ rating it had once enjoyed from Standard & Poor’s, Bubany said the A-Stable rating maintained by Rushford was legitimate and shouldn’t be an item of concern.  “They look at [categories] such as debt per capita, reserves, and market values,” he noted. “The local economy is another factor that’s kind of out of your control. If they feel there’s not enough growth potential, it affects the rating. And it’s important to know that achieving the A+ rating wouldn’t have made a lot of difference, financially speaking. You can pat yourself on the back for it, of course, but it wouldn’t have changed much. We’re talking a $9,000 difference over a ten-year term. “

At the conclusion of Bubany’s report, the council approved the adoption of Resolution 2019-047; the issuance and sale of $1,825,000 of General Obligation Improvement and Utility Revenue Bonds, to United Bankers Bank.

Floodplain mapping/ordinance

The council continued to move forward in revising and updating its floodplain ordinance. Council members had received and reviewed a copy of a letter from the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that approved the draft form of a revised flood plain ordinance submitted after the last city council meeting. The council also reviewed a letter from Rachel Sears of FEMA to Mayor Hallum, commending the city for implementing the new floodplain management measures that would allow the city to participate in the National Floodplain Insurance Program (NFIP).

The next step, according to Clerk Zacher, would be to hold a public hearing to glean citizen input before the city adopted the new ordinance and mapping. “That hearing must be held before August 15,” Zacher informed the council.

During that public hearing, citizens have the opportunity to give affected landowners a chance to give input on mapping. “We will decide how involved we’ll be in helping people in affected areas,” Zacher said. “We need to get this ordinance in place, then we can decide how we can help with paperwork, etc.” The council approved the date of the public hearing regarding the drafting of the floodplain management ordinance for 6:30 p.m. on June 24.

Other business

In other matters, the council reviewed an updated version of a “Minimum Standard for a Fixed Base Operator (FBO)” for the Rushford Municipal Airport. 

The council also heard an update from Clerk Zacher regarding proposed updates to the city’s tobacco ordinance, which has been discussed in previous meetings.  During those discussions, the council had decided to wait for the county to revise and update its language before amending the Rushford version. Zacher noted that Fillmore County Public Health’s Brenda Pohlman “is waiting for the state to update its own language” before revising the county document.

Schedule

The next meeting of the Rushford City Council will be held Monday, June 10 at 6:30 p.m. All members of the public are encouraged to attend.