Columbus council pursues loan for projects

December 5, 2012 9:19:03 AM

Jeff Clark - [email protected]


The Columbus City Council voted to accept bids on a loan for some equipment and a drainage project during Tuesday's regular meeting. The city is looking to borrow up to $1.2 million to be paid back over a five-year period. 


"We began talking to the city about what are some options for financing some equipment and a drainage project," Stephen Edds of Jackson-based Baker Donelson said Tuesday night. "We think the best route is a short-term note. The city could borrow up to $1 million dollars and some change for these projects." 


Edds said the city would have until Dec. 1, 2013 to withdraw the funds, with semiannual payments over the next five years. 


Edds will begin advertising for lenders, and he will open the bids and make his recommendation to the council Dec. 18. 


"I think you can expect to get some extremely low interest rates on this loan," Edds said. 


According to mayor Robert Smith, the drainage project is an ongoing project on 14th Avenue. A portion of the money will go toward the city's approximately $300,000 match on the project. 


"We will be paying back about $225,000 a year on this loan," Ward 6 Councilman Bill Gavin said. "Where is this money going to come from?" 


Chief financial officer Mike Bernsen said the money was already budgeted.  


"We already had this money approved in 2013 debt service budget," Bernsen said. "I budgeted it on the high side because you never know. This is something we've been wanting to do for a while." 


Bernsen said the loan will be used to purchase a new fire truck for Columbus Fire and Rescue and two pieces of equipment for the Public Works Department. 


Public works manager Mike Pratt said the city has received two bids for a new dump truck and a new boom truck. The lowest bidder for both pieces of equipment was Waters Truck and Tractor of Columbus. The dump truck will cost $112,990.81 and the boom truck will cost $111,087.40. 


"We hope to have the dump truck in rotation within the next 60 days and the boom truck should be ready within 120 days," Pratt said.