The Lawrence City Commission agreed Tuesday evening to wait another week before casting a preliminary vote to approve $40 million worth of industrial revenue bonds to finance a portion of the Rock Chalk Park project.
Although the commission earlier had passed two resolutions of intent indicating that it planned to approve the bonds, Commissioner Mike Amyx asked for the delay to give the public more time to review the specific documents, which had just been posted on the city's website earlier in the day.
"I think it's very appropriate to give the public the opportunity to see the same documents we've had," Amyx said.
Gary Anderson, the city's bond counsel from the firm Gilmore & Bell, said the delay would not interfere with the schedule of the project. But he also said the bond issue does not impose any financial obligation on the city or create any financial risk to city taxpayers.
Anderson described the issue as a "buy your own bonds deal," meaning that developer Thomas Fritzel's company Bliss Sports would be both the tenant and the bond purchaser. The only purpose of channeling the money through IRB's, he said, was to make the project legally eligible for a 10-year, 100 percent property tax abatement and a sales tax exemption.
The $40 million bond issue would finance the portion of the project that would be leased by Kansas University Athletics.
Other commissioners agreed to the delay, although most said they did not think it would make a difference.
Commissioner Terry Riordan said he doubted that very many people would read the lengthy bond documents, "but I think in the essence of trying to be as transparent, and trying to be as open as we can about this, I think it's a reasonable request."
The delay means the commission will consider first reading of the bond ordinance Oct. 8, with final approval now tentatively expected the following week, Oct. 15.
In other business, city commissioners approved a joint city and county resolution setting up a steering committee to receive public input and recommend changes to Horizon 2020, the comprehensive planning document for the city of Lawrence and the unincorporated portions of Douglas County.
Douglas County commissioners are expected to vote on that resolution when they meet at 4 p.m. Wednesday.