Baldwin City approves $3.1M bond sale

The Baldwin City Council has approved a $3.1 million bond sale that will pay off short-term debt from several projects, including the city’s new police station and some infrastructure improvements.

On Feb. 2, the bond was put up for bidding, and later that day Jack Ryan-Feldman, of Baker Tilly Municipal Advisors, told the City Council that six financial institutions had placed bids. The low bidder, with an interest rate of 1.4%, was Leawood’s Country Club Bank, and the City Council approved selling the bond to the bank. The bond will take 20 years to retire.

“The bids were competitive based on market indices, and we’re very happy with the results,” Ryan-Feldman said.

The bond was intended to pay off short-term debt that the city had incurred on several projects. Specifically, the city took out four temporary notes in 2018 and 2019 to fund construction of the city’s new police station, the downtown Sullivan Square Park, improvements to First Street in the north part of the city and sewer improvements. The bond issue will allow the city to pay those debts back.

Earlier this year, the City Council introduced a new transparency requirement for bonds: When the city takes on bond debt, it has to pass an ordinance that identifies the sources of funding that will be used to retire the bonds. That requirement applied to this month’s bond sale, and Ryan-Feldman said the annual bond payments would come from the city’s general fund, debt-service levy, quality of life sales tax, capital improvement sales tax and special highway fund.

Baldwin City Mayor Casey Simoneau said Saturday the city shouldn’t need to take on any more bond debt in the foreseeable future. The city’s new public works building and police station addressed two of its longstanding needs, he said, and although there might be more big projects on the horizon, they would have their own funding sources.

One of the projects Simoneau mentioned was a proposal to renovate the old gym on Chapel Street — as currently proposed, that project would be funded with a sales tax that would have to be approved by voters. Another possible project Simoneau mentioned was a second electrical substation for the city, which could be paid off through existing electrical department revenues.

Simoneau also said the city was exploring grant opportunities to help pay for the rehabilitation of downtown’s brick streets. He said the city has used a similar approach to fund sidewalk construction in recent years, with about $2 million in grants going toward the extension of its Safe Routes to School network. The city has also received a grant to install a multi-use trail along the Midland Railway tracks from U.S. 56 to High Street; that project is slated for this year.


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