September 18, 2013 9:46:26 AM
Nathan Gregory - [email protected]
The Columbus city council approved a loan from Mississippi Development Bank to finance the cost of Trotter Convention Center renovations Tuesday.
The city will borrow an amount not to exceed $2.5 million and use in-lieu fees from Columbus Light & Water of about $225,000 a year to service its debt.
MDB bond counsel Steve Edds said the interest rate for the loan will be 4.55 percent.
"Because of rising interest rates, we will probably only be able to get you $2.4 million, but we've authorized $2.5," Edds said. "If interest rates should go down, we may be able to get that extra $100,000."
Edds said the MDB board has to formally approve the resolution at its meeting next month and it would likely be mid-October before the city would have the money in the bank to proceed with the project.
Last month, Major Andrews, architect and founder of Major Design Studio, was awarded the design contract for renovations. His firm will be paid $80,000 for its services. That's 4 percent of the $2 million budgeted for the project. He has about three more months to complete the design before a 45-day open bidding process begins for a construction firm. Renovations are tentatively scheduled to be complete at the end of 2014.
J5/Broaddus, the project managing firm hired by the city in July, will make up to $99,000, or 6 percent of the project cost.
In other business the board:
■ Approved a proposal from Lawns, Etc. for maintenance at Friendship Cemetery for $2,729 per cut. The city is currently paying $2,850 per cut;
■ Learned from chief financial officer Milton Rawle that the city now has a separate reserve fund bank account in the amount of $1,142,456.25;
■ Reappointed Michael James to the Columbus-Lowndes Library Board;
■ Promoted an engineer in Columbus Fire & Rescue to the position of captain;
■ Approved an all-way stop sign at the intersection of Fourth Street South and Seventh Avenue South;
■ Renamed Fourth Street South between Main and College streets to Catfish Alley/Fourth Street South;
■ Discussed possible time frames for a council and department head retreat later this year.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.