UMB Bank was selected as the city's underwriter for handling the Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds obtained from Lawrence and Barry counties. The $2,853,850 in bonds is expected to be available for sale on June 30, meeting the July 1 deadline to have all the bonds finalized.
Sale of the bonds, after expenses, should give the city $2,572,574 to extend water lines across both the north and south ends of town to the former Rutherford farm, west of Eisenhower and north of County Street.
Utilities Superintendent Pete Rauch has been developing plans for a water treatment plant at that site to purify muddy well water, thus boosting the city's resources in dry years when the city's two largest wells are prone to muddy conditions.
The upgrade will also enable the city to add its most recently constructed well on the edge of the Jack Henry and Associates campus to the city system.
Oppenheimer, based in Kansas City, and Crews and Associates also bid on handling the city's money. According to Todd Goffoy, managing director for Piper Jaffray and Company, the firm hired to guide the city in handling the bonds, Monett was interested in a firm experienced in lease purchases, which is how Monett will handle the project. A firm experienced in handling taxable bonds, not just tax exempt municipal bonds was also sought. UMB had experience in both areas.
The decision was also influenced by UMB's experience in handling bonds from the federal stimulus package for the city of West Plains.
"They did a very nice job and gave us comfort that they would do a good job for the city," Goffoy said.
City Administrator Dennis Pyle said the next step will be to call Standard and Poors to get a rating for the bonds. The city's financial obligations and debt ratios for water and sewer projects would be evaluated and compared with other cities doing similar projects. The higher the bond rating, the lower the interest rate.
Income from the bonds will be taxable from the federal level, not from the state. The bonds will be attractive to a wider group of investors than just the tax-exempt market. The bonds would be available for public purchase through UMB. Details including the interest rates would come before council members for finalization at the June 21 monthly meeting.
Council members approved construction contracts for lift stations improvements serving the north side of town. Ed Laubinger Excavation, of St. Clair, got the $297,000 job to build a second lift station west of the waste treatment that will run parallel to the existing station. Kenny Singer Construction, of Aurora, was awarded the $57,753.15 contract to build a 12-inch high pressure line from the lift station to treatment plant, an upgrade from the current eight-inch line.
Rauch was pleased eight bidders showed interest in the project. Prices fell within the $429,000 remaining in the State Revolving Fund for the last round of improvements at the waste treatment plant. Contracts were awarded to the low bidders for each project. Rauch reported two other bidders had been even lower for a combined total but withdrew upon realizing both projects would not be awarded as a single package.
A contract with Industrial Physical Therapy (IPT) for pre-employment and return-to-work physical testing for city employees was formally cancelled. Mayor Jim Orr said IPT had moved out of town, and the city was paying more than necessary to send workers to Joplin for tests. The city used IPT from June 2008 until the local office closed in January.
Pyle reported the city had been satisfied with the services received from IPT. A new contract had been negotiated with CoxHealth to provide all occupational services for the city, including tests run by IPT. The new contract qualified the city for discounts after 30 days and included a similar clause for termination with a 30-day written notice.
Bills paid for the month totaled $1,390,241.19. The major bills included: $912,804.13 to Empire District Electric for wholesale electricity; $35,000 to Turfgrass for chemicals to treat the golf course; $35,000 to the Monett Area YMCA for annual swimming pool operations; and $15,800 to Burk Bridge Company for the cap repair on Kyler Street.