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City seeks $10M loan approval
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McMinnville officials reached the point of no return when it comes to a multi-million dollar project and showed no signs of hesitation.
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously approved a resolution to accept the low bid of $9.2 million from Sain Construction Company to renovate and expand the Civic Center, contingent upon acquiring funding. They also approved applying to the Tennessee Municipal Board Fund to borrow up to $10 million.
Just prior to that meeting, the city’s Finance Committee met to consider using a fixed or a variable rate and what to do with almost $2 million the city has earmarked for capital improvements.
“I am hesitant to throw that $2 million in on the front end of this thing,” said Alderman Everett Brock. “Whatever we decide, fixed or variable, I’d like to hold onto that $2 million until the Civic Center is renovated, if we decided to proceed with that. Then, we can decide where to apply it – either on the loans that we have outstanding or whether we want to apply it to that particular loan. I’m concerned that in the middle of doing this project, if we have an emergency, we could get caught short. Once the thing is over with, let’s pay off something.”
At this time, the city has outstanding debt on previous projects, such as Park Theater renovation and outdoor pool construction.
“I’d rather see us go ahead and knock something out or pay it down because it’s costing us more in the long run to hold onto that money,” said Alderman Mike Neal. “Applying that $2 million to this project would save us $162,000 a year. I think it would look good in the eyes of the public for us to go ahead and do something with some of this money rather than continuing to go into debt while we hold onto it.”
Brock offered a compromise, “I’m a lot more comfortable, after the project is done. If we are going to do it beforehand, do $1 million. Once the project is over, do another $1 million.”
Committee members unanimously approved a 20-year fixed rate on the Civic Center project, paying $1 million toward outstanding debt now, and giving consideration toward paying the remaining $1 million on the final bills as they come in for the Civic Center renovation project.
Board approval is needed on all those committee decisions.