The Trenton City Council Thursday, by a vote of six in favor and one opposed, approved the use of Certificates of Participation to finance the cost of projects in the Electric and Wastewater Departments.
Mark Moore voted no and there were some pauses and remarks of reluctance given by several other councilmen when they voted yes. Chuck Elliott was absent.
The vote came after an hour long discussion about the financing, the projects, government regulations, and briefly about the annual transfer of funds from Trenton Municipal Utilities to the City of Trenton's general fund.
The City Council and the Board of Public Works held a joint meeting regarding the financing. The City Council, on Monday night, discussed the proposed use of Certificates of Participation as a financing measure. However, when Councilman Travis Elbert suggested a different time schedule for the debt payments to save money, the discussion was continued until today so Elbert's suggestion could be analyzed. Since Monday night's City Council meeting, Elbert re-examined his figures and also met with TMU Director, Chad Davis. Elbert today announced his proposal would not save money---and he apologized for the extra time spent on his proposal.
The Trenton City Council today approved the proposal it discussed Monday night. That same proposal was approved by the Board of Public Works last month and sent to the City Council for final consideration.
The aggregate principal amount of the Certificates is not to exceed $6,250,000. The projects actually are expected to cost slightly less than $6,000,000.
The Certificates are to have interest, at various rates, not to exceed a true interest cost of 5 1/2%. The final maturity is not to be later than the year 2038.
An annually renewable lease purchase agreement is to be made with First Bank of Missouri. D. A. Davidson and Company of Kansas City is to be the underwriter.
The TMU Electric Department work involves about $1.3 million in construction costs to upgrade diesel powered generators to comply with federal air quality regulations.
Construction for costs for the sewer system projects are estimated around $3.8 million . The wastewater work includes construction, furnishing, and equipment for a disinfection system and other equipment at the Wastewater Treatment Plant, plus collection improvements in the sewer system. TMU Director, Chad Davis, during Monday night's City Council meeting, said about Â˝ of the Wastewater Department spending is for government regulations with the remainder for projects which have been delayed in the past.
Today's meeting was attended by 7 of the 8 City Councilmen, 3 of the 4 Board of Public Works members, City and TMU officials, and a representative of Kansas City based D.A. Davidson Company. With all those persons in attendance, a number of questions were asked about the topics---something the Board of Public Works have been discussing in recent years.
Among them were input in the past to stop or lessen government regulations and local expenses, and a doubt that a legal fight to stop government regulations would be viable. It also was stated additional government regulations are proposed, so there needs to be continued discussion to fight those.
Also mentioned was a need to make replacements in Trenton's aging sewer collection system that's several decades oldâ€”some of it up to around 100 years old. The potential of a failure or collapse in the collection system was mentioned as need to address it.
Among other comments, total TMU debts were described around $11 million.
Toward the end of the meeting, Board of Public Works member, John Kennebeck, brought up the City Council's policy of transferring money from Trenton Municipal Utilities to the City's general fund. The amount is equal to 1% of the charges for services from the electric, water, and wastewater funds stated in the most recently completed audit of Trenton Municipal Utilities. The ordinance says the amount from the electric fund is less street lighting revenue. Kennebeck indicated the money being transferred from TMU to the City's general revenue could be used for TMU projects and lessen borrowing costs for those projects.
Kennbeck indicated the money---if it were not transferred to the City, could be kept in a special emergency account.
Councilman Jacob Black did not object to such a plan and said an ordinance could be passed. However, he noted other City departments, including streets, would suffer from not receiving the TMU transfer money to the general fund. It was mentioned that could lead to paycuts and layoffs. Or, voters could be asked to consider a tax increase.