Westminster Common Council Takes Baby Steps in Bond Application

City leaders will consider financing options to complete several capital projects.

Following a brief public hearing recently, Westminster's mayor and Common Council voted to submit an application to the Community Development Association Infrastructure Bond Program.

According to Westminster Finance Director Gary Ehlers, in March 2002 the city applied for a CDA infrastructure bond to finance the construction of the Longwell parking garage project. After 10 years, the city is able to refund that bond and refinance at a cost savings of approximately $160,000.

The council also considered borrowing up to an additional $2 million to complete several capital projects that are currently in the city's Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). The capital projects Ehlers discussed include repairs and updates to the armory building on Longwell Avenue, repairs and upgrades to City Hall and repairs and updates to the Arts Council building and facade.

Councilmembers Tony Chiavacci and Dennis Frazier said they did not want to move forward with borrowing for capital projects until the council has had sufficient time to review each project in detail.

Councilman Robert Wack, who is also the Finance Committee Chair, said that the application is not a commitment to go forward with the bond, but rather just keeps the option to borrow the money at the current rate available until mid-October.

Mayor Kevin Utz said one of the benefits of bonding the money is the ability to complete several major capital projects in whole as opposed to completing projects in chunks over the next several years.

Council President Damian Halstad said, "The issue is whether we take advantage of cheap money, but the question is do we pay as we go or do we borrow money to do it [capital projects]."

The council voted unanimously to complete the application. The council has until mid-October to decide if it will move forward with the bond. City Administrator Marge Wolf said staff members would present necessary information to the council in the coming weeks.

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