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City grants authority to sign bond warrants

The Troy City Council on Tuesday gave the mayor final authority to sign the warrants for refinancing both utility and general obligation bonds for the city.

The two bond issues include $8.4 million in new funds for improvements to the water, sewer and electric infrastructure of the city and, in the general obligation bond, $5 million in new revenue, including $4 million for a new public library.

“We’ve discussed at length the scope of these projects,” Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said.

The city has been working the refinancing project for several weeks. “In fact, I want to publicly thank (city clerk) Alton Starling and all the people who work in his office,” Lunsford said.

The mayor explained that in order for the city to negotiate bond ratings, which must be secured before entering the bond market, the city had to close its 2010 fiscal year on Sept. 30 and complete all the financial work in an extremely short turn-around time.

“They had everything closed by the seventh of October,” the mayor said. “And when someone like Bob Young (bond attorney) who’s been in this business for a long time says that he’s never worked with a community, especially under these conditions, whose gotten every question answered and information together so quickly …” Well, the mayor said, that is high praise.

In other business, the city council on Tuesday:

• Heard a report from the mayor that sales tax revenues increased in the month of September by 7.28 percent over September 2009. “And we always do a three-year average, and we’re up by 5.46 percent over the average of the past three years, as well,” Lunsford said. “I hope that’s the start of a trend.”

• Agreed to allow Beasley, Allen, Crowe, Methvin, Portis and Miles PC law firm to explore whether or not the city of Troy experienced any financial losses related to the BP oil disaster this summer. The city will provide the law firm, and its accounts, financial data relating to sale tax, lodging information and similar data, and the team will make a determination if there has been any revenue loss associated with the incident.

“If there has been, the law firm is prepared, on a contingency basis only, to pursue recovery,” said Johnny Witherington, council member. “This was something that was recommended to us by our municipal attorney, Richard Calhoun.”

• Reappointed Margie Kelly and Rebecca Skibba to four-year terms on the Troy Public Library board.

• Approved a liquor license for Day One Restaurant, which is operated by Christopher Bray. Bray is opening Asiago, an Italian, family-style restaurant on U.S. 231 South. “We’d hoped to be open by Nov. 2, but we’re not sure about that,” Bray told the council. “But we’re just excited to be here … and everyone in the community has been so helpful and welcoming.”

• Approved a contract with Revenue Discovery Services to provide collection services on business licenses.

• Approved a purchasing card agreement through Regions Bank which could net the city up to $5,000 or more in annual savings, Starling said.