NEW ALBANY —
A $5.7 million paving bond will be before the New Albany City Council for a vote on Thursday. However, the body may still choose a “pay-as-you-go” campaign for resurfacing.
The council has discussed how to fund a 2013 paving initiative for several months, as a special committee was formed to look into the issue.
The main point of debate was not whether the city should spend money on paving, but if it’s better to bond the project or foot resurfacing efforts with existing funds.
Shane Gibson, an attorney with the city, said during a work session earlier this month that New Albany is predicted to have about $2.6 million in unencumbered Economic Development Income Tax funds by the end of the year.
Councilman Scott Blair has favored spending $2 million in EDIT on paving to avoid interest fees from a bond.
He said Monday that while the bond resolution is set to be introduced by Councilman Greg Phipps, he anticipates there could be an amendment that could switch the paving expenditure to EDIT.
“We wanted to bring it back open for discussion, because we feel there’s a real need to get paving done this year, and we need to figure out how we’re going to pay for it,” Blair said.
He said he would possibly support a short-term bond resolution, but added that option would still be available if an appropriation from EDIT doesn’t suffice.
Phipps said Monday that the council committee will meet again today on the issue, and will likely “pare down” the amount of the possible bond.
Phipps said he could support a mix of the two plans, where a smaller amount would be bonded and some EDIT committed in order to catch the city up on paving deficits.
“I’m open to all sorts of ideas,” Phipps said.
New Albany Street Commissioner Mickey Thompson said earlier this month a reasonable estimate would be for a contractor to complete about $2 million in paving in a year.
Councilwoman Shirley Baird said Monday that if a second contractor were hired, it could result in several street projects occurring at once which could lead to traffic congestion.
“Plus I don’t want to go in debt that much,” Baird said of bonding paving projects.
The council — at the request of Mayor Jeff Gahan — approved a measure earlier this year that will allow the city to bond up to $19.6 million for an aquatic center and other parks projects.
As stated in the resolution, the interest rate for the paving bond could be as high as 7 percent. The amount the city would have to pay back if a bond is sold would depend on the length of the note.
Phipps, Blair and other council members have said they favor a budget plan — possibly with a length of five years — so that funds could be reserved annually for paving.
Thursday’s meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the third-floor Assembly Room of the City-County Building.