Board dismisses anti-bond petition, delays next vote|[12/19/06]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A petition opposing a $16.9 million bond issue to fund an overpass replacement, street improvements and a recreation complex was officially dismissed Monday, but no vote on an urban renewal plan for the Oak Street area was taken.

Formally, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously adopted a report issued on the petition by City Clerk Walter Osborne.

Results of their canvass of the petition were released Dec. 1, showing that the petition was short by 578 of its required minimum, 1,500 signatures.

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The original petition had 2,120 entries and 1,198 were disqualified, subject to appeal during the following 10 days. The appeal period expired at 5 p.m. Dec. 11, with few affidavits filed.

Mayor Laurence Leyens said the city would ask its consultants to begin the process of issuing the bonds, saying the bonds would probably be issued within the next &#822030 to 60 days,” depending on market conditions.

The bond-issue resolution had been adopted Oct. 3. The petition was filed by residents who argued the bond issue would create a need for the city to raise taxes. They remained skeptical for that and other reasons, including a belief that the money will be used to help displace low-income residents from the Oak Street area.

The city countered that claim with an expected cash-flow statement for the fund through which bond-issue proceeds are received and annual payments made. That sheet shows that city taxpayers’ annual contribution to the fund is expected to be level at $2.74 million through 2017, the expected year of the last annual payment of the issue that would be made this year.

Proceeds from the bond issue are to be spent: