City proposes $2 million bond for capital improvements


Several city departments will benefit from a $2 million bond that upon final approval would be used to pay for capital improvements and incidental expenses.

The first reading of the bond ordinance was unanimously approved by the Seymour City Council 7-0 during a meeting Monday night. It was introduced by Councilman Jerry Hackney, chairman of the finance committee.

The second and final reading will be at the next council meeting, set for 7 p.m. Nov. 9 in the council chambers at city hall, 301 N. Chestnut St., Seymour.

Richard Starkey with the law firm of Barnes and Thornburg LLP said there will be a public hearing before the council considers adoption of the ordinance, giving residents a chance to share their thoughts for or against it.

If approved, the five-year bond will be sold through a public sale advertised in the newspaper, and the lowest interest rate of the bond will be accepted, Starkey said.

“Everybody knows this because of mortgages, but interest rates are at historical lows, and the same is true for municipal markets. Pretty absurd actually,” he said.

Mayor Matt Nicholson said the bond will maintain a level debt, and there will be no increase in taxes.

“You’re maintaining where we’re at,” he said. “Every few years, we have a bond that falls off. Then we use it to replace things like tornado sirens or police cars or whatever capital project we’ve going on.”

The biggest expense would be $600,000 for police cars, buying five in 2021, four in 2022 and five in 2023.

Nicholson said that would help the city create a 10-year replacement rotation for police cars.

“Next year, we will be removing some 13-year-old cars,” he said.

Another $350,000 would be spent to buy an automated trash truck, $200,000 would go toward new accounting software for the clerk-treasurer’s office and $200,000 would be used for park infrastructure.

Councilman Seth Davidson asked Clerk-Treasurer Darrin Boas if the new software would bring the office into modern times.

The city currently uses Keystone for utility, payroll, funds and more, and he found 85% of the clerk-treasurers he spoke to use it, too.

“Most people love it,” Boas said. “Coming from the corporate world, this software is very antiquated, it’s very slow, it’s not very user-friendly compared to what’s out there now, but the people that have grown up on it (including his staff), they are good with it.”

Boas said one option could be to have separate software for payroll.

“I’ve heard horror stories of when a switch happens because we’re going to screw up utility, we’re going to screw up payroll, we’re going to screw up monthly balancing and the whole nine yards,” he said. “I thought, ‘Well, if we switch to a different payroll company, at least we can get that under our belt and do that.”

Going with a separate payroll software, however, could cost a couple hundred thousand dollars, Boas said. He’s still researching the best option.

“I haven’t found anything I’m convinced of yet, so we might still be running it two, three years from now. I don’t know. I can’t guarantee that,” Boas said.

With the park infrastructure, Davidson asked Nicholson what that would be used for, and he said it will go toward adding two baseball/softball diamonds at Freeman Field Recreational Complex, constructing two pickleball courts at Gaiser Park and covering the skatepark additions at Shields Park.

The bond also includes $150,000 for tornado sirens, $142,000 for the fire department and $20,000 for a mower for the parks and recreation department.

Plus, the cost of issuance is $85,000, the capitalized interest is $26,000 and miscellaneous expenses are $227,000.

Nicholson said most of the items will be purchased or completed in 2021 except for the police cars being spaced out to create the rotation.

“I think in my four years on (city) council, we did three bonds similar in size and nature is about how frequently we have one fall off and roll them back in,” he told the council.

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”If you go” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

What: Seymour City Council meeting

When: 7 p.m. Nov. 9

Where: Council chambers at Seymour City Hall, 301 N. Chestnut St.; enter through the door along Third Street

Who: Open to the public and press

On the agenda: The meeting will include a public hearing before the council considers adoption of a bond ordinance to provide funds to pay for capital improvements and incidental expenses


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