Funds to be used for public improvement projects

Funds for a drainage project through Betts Circle and improving city streets will soon be available to the City of Fort Calhoun.

During its meeting May 20, the Fort Calhoun City Council approved two ordinances which authorized the issue of bond anticipation notes for the stormwater project and general obligation highway allocation fund pledge bonds for street improvements.

The total amount of funds received through the notes and pledge bonds combined is not to exceed $310,000, though the total amount should be considerably less. The city can pay the notes and bonds back in a number of ways ranging from the levying of property taxes or through money already in specific funds, such as those used for projects and roads.

The first ordinance, for the bond anticipation notes, allows the city to receive funds to pay for the completion of the Betts Circle drainage project. The notes are not to exceed $110,000, but that is only to allow plenty of wiggle room for project needs.

"It's definitely going to be lower than that," Maintenance Supervisor Corban Helmandollar said.

The city awarded an agreement in the amount of $76,350 to Marsh Creek Concrete, Inc. of Gretna in November to build a stormwater basin and install an underground pipe to improve water drainage from Cherry Hills Lane through Betts Circle.

Betts Circle resident Jerry Beach brought the issue to the city in July 2018, expressing concern about the amount of water draining through the street. A hill separating the two cul-de-sacs slopes downward to Betts Circle.

City Engineer Lucas Billesbach of JEO Consulting said Marsh Creek has had issues starting the project because of the wet weather, but should be able to work over the next couple weeks.

"We are finally moving dirt … It's been a frustrating start to this project," Billesbach said. "They are still committing to a June 1 completion date."

Phil Lorenzen, bond consultant with DA Davidson, recommended the bond anticipation notes be issued over a short period of time. He said a three-year length would be good and put the interest rate somewhere around two percent.

"If we allow a little time to leave that out as notes instead of rolling that into longer term permanent financing, if you have the funds you can go ahead and pay that down early," Lorenzen said. "I think it's an efficient way to go."

Lorenzen also recommended a 10-year length on the general obligation highway allocation fund pledge bonds, which will be used for various street improvements throughout Fort Calhoun. Lorenzen said that would put the pledge bonds, which are not to exceed $200,000, at around a 2.75 percent interest rate. He added that the total amount, like the anticipation notes, should be less than $200,000.

Billesbach said the city is planning to meet with a contractor on May 29 to walk the city streets and get a better idea of what work needs to be done. Billesbach said numerous streets around the city need spot repairs and Lincoln Street near the high school needs concrete repair.

The city awarded a contract of nearly $50,000 to Rock Hard Concrete, Inc. in October for Lincoln Street concrete work.

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