Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

November 8, 2013

City of Kokomo to bond for parking garage

Taxpayers will see no increase as a result of debt issuance

The city will finance the construction of a parking garage and apartment complex by issuing up to $15 million in bonds.

The city currently has no debt, and with cash reserves of $16.2 million in several funds and a reserve of $2.9 million in Economic Development Income Tax funds, it could pay for the estimated $15 million development in cash. Doing so, Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight said, would tie up most of the city’s available money.

“This is a good investment for our community,” Goodnight said. “We have bonded in the past for the city hall building 30 years ago, Kokomo Beach, Chrysler and sewer projects.

“This is no different than going into personal debt,” Goodnight added. “You borrow because it is worthwhile when buying a home, paying for education or transportation.”

A public hearing has been set for 1 p.m. Nov. 18 in the conference room on the third floor of city hall. The Kokomo Common Council then will consider adoption of an ordinance to issue the bonds at 7 p.m. Nov. 18 in the council chambers of the city building.

The city is planning to begin construction on the four-story parking garage and 35-unit apartment complex this year and finish it in 2014. The projects will be financed separately, with the parking garage estimated to cost $9 million and the apartments another $4 million.

Lawrence McCormack, city attorney, said Thursday the city is considering spending up to $3 million from its cash reserves on the garage project. The rest of the funding will come from a five-year bond that will be backed by the city’s share of the 1 percent EDIT revenues, he said.

Goodnight said the city is opting for a short repayment time in order to avoid incurring long-term debt. McCormack said with the city’s AAA bond rating (the highest available) and the short term of the bond, the city should get a low interest rate. The garage portion of the project will be repaid for with either EDIT funds or general obligation funding. No tax increase will be necessary, Goodnight said.

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