Monett City Council finalizes plans for bond money

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Monett City Council adopted an ordinance at its December meeting to establish how federal Recovery Zone Economic Development bonds will be used by the city.

Bonds from the federal stimulus program designated for the counties have been requested for use on city water projects. City Administrator Dennis Pyle said the city will get $1,887,380 in Recovery Zone Economic Development bonds from Lawrence County and $972,470 from Barry County. Monett's request committed most of the county's allocation, which would have been returned for use elsewhere if not used.

Establishing a recovery zone, Pyle said, was one of the required steps to using the bonds. The city cited the bi-county unemployment rate as the "distress factor" required for eligibility, Pyle said.

Bond will be sold on April 1, 2010. While the bonds are taxable, Pyle said the federal government will reimburse the city 45 percent of the interest, leaving the city with an interest rate of about 3.85 percent to pay.

Money from the bonds will go toward $13 million in planned water system improvements. The bonds will be paid with the water rate increases that began being phased in last May to pay for the project.

In Lawrence County, the money will be used to build a 16-inch water main from Chapell Drive to north of Farm Road 2230, west to Eisenhower then south to the former Rutherford farm, where a treatment facility will be built. A booster station will be constructed along the line to support water flow.

In Barry County, work will include extending a 12-inch water main from Moge Road west to Eisenhower, then north to well #21 on the Jack Henry and Associates campus. A wellhouse will be built at the well and a chlorine detention facility will be constructed. A line from the well to the Rutherford farm will also be built.

The agreement between the counties and the city to use the Recovery Zone Economic Development bonds came at the same time as litigation over the legitimacy of Monett's tax increment financing (TIF) program.

"While we have disagreements on the TIF issue," Pyle said, "we continue to communicate with the counties and have issues where we're working together.

"I don't think [the TIF suits] affect our working relationship," the city administrator added.

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