Douglas County commissioners on Wednesday will discuss plans to issue $16.5 million in sales tax revenue bonds to help fund two major projects.
But the commission is not likely to take formal action. Instead, deputy county administrator Sarah Plinsky said, commissioners will discuss the timing of the bond sale and and the procedures to be used to help make sure the county gets the lowest possible interest rate.
Plinsky said the bond issue would include $9.5 million to pay the anticipated cost of building a new facility for the county's Public Works Department and $7 million to upgrade the radio communication system used by local law enforcement and emergency responders.
Emergency communications director Scott Ruf said the radio project involves replacing outdated equipment, expanding capacity and complying with federal regulations for public safety agencies to narrow the band of frequencies they use.
Of the $7 million being issued for that project, Plinsky said, $3 million will be paid in cash by the city of Lawrence, leaving the county responsible for only $4 million.
The bonds would be repaid from the county's portion of a one-cent sales tax that voters approved in 1994.
The county receives about $5.8 million a year from its share of that tax. Part of that is used to operate the county jail and the rest is used to pay for bond-funded projects such as the building that houses the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department and the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center.
The commission meets at 4 p.m. in the county courthouse.
In other business, the commission will:
• Consider authorizing a road improvement project on a 2.5-mile stretch of Route 458, from U.S. Highway 59 west to Banning's Corner. The project is estimated to cost $2 million, but the commission will also consider applying for federal aid because the road provides access to federal land around Clinton Lake.
• And consider authorizing a contract for engineering services with Benesch/DRG Engineers for planning and design of a project to replace a 76-year-old bridge over Coal Creek on Route 458, about six miles north of Baldwin City. The initial cost of the contract is $118,419, and could be as much as $265,147 if the county agrees to proceed with the entire project. The total bridge replacement project is currently estimated at $1.75 million.