Thursday, Aug. 11


City finds possible fill for Sysco bond shortfall       Send a link to a friend

[AUG. 11, 2005]  Last week the city of Lincoln and Logan County officials were faced with one more glitch in finance plans for the Robert's Sysco Foods project. It was discovered that the tax-free debt certificates will not be tax-free but will cost the two entities $110,000 more than anticipated.

The hitch is not one to cause question about following through with the project as agreed. Like city treasurer Less Plotner said, quoting an unknown source, "If you want the rainbow, you have to put up with the rain." The city and the county will each need to decide how to come up with the extra funds or how to handle the changes in financing.

Last week city attorney Bill Bates laid out the options. He said you can come up with more funds, stretch out payments or possibly change the Sysco contract in such a way as to avoid the application of the tax.

This week Bates said he has learned that the third option probably wouldn't work, as there are factors of doing business with a private entity that won't change the taxable status. The city could extend the payments, but the county does not have that option.

Plotner came forward and made some observations on city finances. He said that if an ordinance slated to come before the council next week passes, they will have $22,500 of the $30,000 that is needed. He recommended a couple of months ago that the council consider increasing the simplified municipal telecommunications tax from 3 percent to 6 percent. That will double the revenues. Those funds would be available for any use, Plotner said.

He has also observed steady gains on income taxes. They are up 30 percent over last year. This year's increase exceeds the loosely estimated $50,000 increase that was anticipated last year. If the increase continues on the present trend, Plotner anticipates that those revenues could jump to over $1.3 million next year. 

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Those income revenues can be used only on infrastructure, and that's what they would be for, he said.

The city's share of the project is $300,000. The county is in for $900,000.

The city is planning to pay $30,000 upfront.

Property acquisitions continue

While the largest land purchases for the project have been completed, there is still one purchase and a transfer of ownership to transpire.

Five-plus acres in two tracts will be purchased for $45,712.50. One piece will be used to extend Madigan Drive. The other tract will continue to be a detention area that already exists along Connolley Road. By using that ground it will save an estimated $100,000 in excavating costs. That purchase is already in process, with intentions to be closed on by Sept. 15, Bates said.

An undisclosed donor is giving 9 acres that will be used to develop Heitmann Drive and add storm water drainage to the detention area. The owner originally paid $13,500 per acre for the property that is being given, Bates said.

Many processes involved in developing infrastructure to the site will take place in the coming months before the project construction reaches full swing.

[Jan Youngquist]

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