The Manchester Board of Aldermen has approved placing a bond issue on the April 3 municipal election ballot.
The city’s intent is to borrow $16 million, by the issuance of general obligation bonds, for the purpose of constructing, extending, repairing, reconstructing and improving the city’s streets and sidewalks. Included in that amount is funding for the acquisition of any necessary land or rights-of-way.
A comprehensive street assessment report was completed in early 2017 by engineering firm Horner & Shifrin, Inc. to evaluate the current condition of city streets and sidewalks and to detail recommendations and an estimate of cost. According to the firm, a large portion of streets require extensive repairs because the majority of the city’s infrastructure is approaching 50 years old.
The final payment of the current general obligation bond, which paid for the Manchester Highland’s police facility, will be made in February of this year. If the proposition passes on April 3, the city will authorize the levy and collection of an annual tax to pay the interest and principal of the new bonds as they fall due and retire the bond within 20 years.
While the current bond, to be paid off next month, is taxed at 19 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, the new bond issue is anticipated to be taxed at a higher rate. City Administrator Larry Perney explained that, according to current market trends, the city anticipates the tax rate to be 28 cents per $100 of assessed valuation; however, the exact rate will be finalized closer to the election date.
At its Dec. 18 meeting, the board also unanimously approved the retention of Gilmore & Bell. P.C. to serve as bond counsel in connection with the issuance of general obligation bonds. The firm will help plan the financing and structure of the bond issue, examine applicable laws, prepare election proceedings and legal documents related to the authorization and issuance of the bonds and coordinate the closing of the transactions and distribute transcripts of proceedings. Its retainer fee is $25,000 for the first $8 million borrowed and 75 cents per $1,000 borrowed for the remaining balance of $8 million.