Council approves bond sale

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By MIKE EDDLEMAN

The Liberty Hill City Council on Monday approved the sale of $3 million in certificates of obligation to cover a variety of capital projects.

The list of possible projects includes the work on the Fowler Building and other buildings set for renovation, park improvements, the Stubblefield realignment and extension, the roundabout, drainage projects and wastewater plant expansion. The interest rate on the bonds is 3.395 percent.

The Council also voted to refinance $4.225 million in bonds issued in 2006 when the city purchased the sewer system. The refinancing was done to lower the interest rate and reduce the annual payment because the original bonds were on a 20-year term. The new interest rate is 3.217 percent on the refinanced bonds.

Bond rating
The city received its first-ever bond rating, which helped in the bond sale.

“This is the first bond rating established for the city,” said Dan Wegmiller of Specialized Public Finance. “The bond rating is very useful feedback for you. Essentially it is a credit assessment. The bond rating is used by investors who are deciding whether or not to buy bonds issued by the city.”

The City received the second-highest rating possible.

“What’s important to note here is the City of Liberty Hill was rated AA+ by Standard and Poor’s and that is the second-highest rating you can receive,” Wegmiller said. “There are no AAA cities of comparable size or larger in the area. Cities like Round Rock, Georgetown and Cedar Park are AA+ as well.”

He said the rating is based on a number of financial and economic factors in the city.

“They look at your economy, they look at your financial performance, they look at your debt levels, and they also look at management, your administrative decisions,” Wegmiller said.

Water reuse plans
Liberty Hill will soon be selling reuse water from the water treatment plant.

“This is a project we are very excited about for the city,” said Aaron Laughlin with Steger Bizzell Engineering. “I know there’s been a lot of interest from the public about doing reuse from this plant. This will allow us to reuse more water and reduce the amount we send down to the river.”

The project will allow the City to sell some of the treated water for reuse purposes.

“There’s already a contract in place with the Larkspur development and we’re putting in a meter for them,” Laughlin said. “We will also put in a water fill station at the plant that will allow construction contractors to come out and fill their water trucks.”

The project will cost the city $636,334 and the bid for work was awarded to Austin Engineering Company. A total of seven bids were received, ranging from Austin Engineering’s low bid, up to $921,442.

One-way streets
Public Works Director Wayne Bonnet said signs should be going up downtown within the next week for the new one-way streets plan. The new traffic rules and directions should go into effect within two weeks.

The plan will make Aynsworth, Munro and Myrtle streets one-way south, while Fallwell and Grange streets will be one-way north. Barton will be one-way north, toward RR 1869, where a divider will allow traffic to go either direction on RR 1869.

The cost of the project, to include signage and necessary street improvements at intersections, is $36,522.50.

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