Marked Tree Council approves bond refinancing, chooses alderman

Friday, April 20, 2018

The Marked Tree City Council voted on two ordinances Monday night for refinancing bond issues. The first refinancement concerned the 1996 one cent sales tax.

Marshall Hughes with Crews and Associates said the council had asked him a year ago to look into refinancing bonds. Since then, he said interest rates have risen, and while it did not make sense to refinance the water and sewer bonds at this time, he said interest rates on sales and use tax would not hurt them as much. Hughes said by refinancing, they could save about 6.5 percent, which would mean $5-6,000 a year, for a total savings of $105,000.

Michael Moyers with the Friday, Eldredge, and Clark firm further discussed the ordinance with the council, and the ordinance was adopted. Moyers said he will be back in May with an ordinance that includes the final numbers.

Moyers also presented an ordinance for refinancing the 2007-2008 water and sewer bond issue, but he said there is currently not enough debt savings to make refinancing those bonds worthwhile. However, he said if the council approved the ordinance, that would allow him to move immediately as soon as rates go down enough in the future to allow at least three percent net savings. The council also approved this ordinance, which will allow for refinancing as soon as the minimum parameters set forth in it are met.

In other business, four individuals were interested in serving the remainder of the term as alderman for Ward 3 Position 1, the spot Steve Craig vacated when he took over as mayor. They were Mary Louise Smith, Randy Crockett, Carolyn Wages, and John Bell. Smith and Bell both addressed the council about their eagerness to serve. Crockett and Wages could not attend due to emergencies, so a letter from Wages was read, and Alderman Cleo Johnson Jr. spoke on Crockett's behalf. After going into executive session to discuss the matter, the council voted 4-2 in favor of Randy Crockett filling the position.

The council also approved a resolution expressing a willingness to use federal aid funds for a handicap accessible trail at Carver Park. Grant writer Betty Shaw said the trail will be 1,040 linear feet long and ten feet wide. The estimated cost is $80,000, and the grant is an 80-20 matching Recreational Trails Program Funds grant. The city will cover 20 percent in local match/in kind labor. Shaw said they are using a porous material for the top layer which will allow rain to go through it to the gravel below and will help the trail last longer. She said they have also acquired a backstop at no cost so kids could continue playing kickball near the trail, and no one on the trail will be hit.

In other business, the council:

*heard from Sheri Whitlow regarding 11th Street issues and issues with police officers speeding.

*heard from Joe Nathan Jones regarding a temporary trailer put up behind a liquor store which Mayor Craig authorized without going through Planning and Zoning. Jones said he was previously told he could not put up a trailer in city limits. Craig apologized for authorizing it on his own, though the council was fine with the trailer going up since it is temporary.

*Heard from Tom Rhoads regarding ideas for keeping the sports complex clean such as having the players pick up trash after games. Rhoads also spoke about some properties on 11th and 6th Streets that need cleaning up.

*Approved paying Code Enforcer Jim Huff for mailouts.

*Heard from Alderman Jerry Jones about a dog issue. Mayor Craig said the city does have a dog catcher and to call city hall about any dogs running loose.

*Approved hiring Dylan Rains as a full-time dispatcher. Rains was a part-time dispatcher.

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