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Council to approve bond, appoint CL&W member


Nathan Gregory



Columbus councilmen will meet Tuesday to formally approve issuing $5 million in bonds to finance infrastructure work. 


During Tuesday's 5 p.m. recess meeting at the municipal complex, the council is also expected to award more contracts for renovation of the Trotter Convention Center and select one of five applicants to serve on the Columbus Light and Water Board of Directors. 


City project managing and engineering consultants completed and released a citywide infrastructure survey earlier this month, identifying $6.3 million worth of road, drainage and sidewalk needs. Councilmen opted last week to evenly split the $4.5 million that will be left after engineering, project managing and legal fees are paid evenly between all six wards, meaning about $750,000 of improvements will take place in each ward.  


A revised list that specifies which projects will be addressed with the $4.5 million has not been released. 


The bond issue also means a 1.1 mill property tax increase for city property owners. The estimated extra cost to a taxpayer with a property valued at $100,000 will be $11 a year. The new millage rate will be 41.23. The $5 million will be paid off over a 15-year period. Steve Edds of law firm Baker Donelson said the city can expect to have $350,000 in debt financing each year over that time. Not including interest, $5 million divided over 15 years is $333,333 a year. 


As for Trotter Center renovations, councilmen authorized J5 Broaddus Senior Project Manager Robyn Eastman to negotiate with Burks-Mordecai Builders on several components of the renovation that were combined into one package. The contractor turned in the lowest bid, but that was $72,000 over budget for the package. Eastman has not responded to calls or emails regarding the negotiations. 


Four applicants have applied for a five-year term on the CL&W board that expires at the end of this month, while current member David Shelton is seeking re-appointment. 


William Cunningham, Troy Miller, Tiffany Sturdivant and Micheal Tate have submitted applications to unseat Shelton, who has served on the board for 15 years. Councilmen select an applicant using a nomination process. If a councilman nominates a candidate and receives a second, the nomination goes to a vote. If a majority vote in favor of the nomination, the process is over and none of the other applicants are considered. If a councilman nominates someone and either does not receive a second or the vote fails, the process continues until someone who is nominated receives a majority vote.


Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.



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