Tuesday, 16 May 2017 20:34

No tax increase expected as city plans budget meeting

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City Manager Joseph Scherer says he will not recommend a tax increase for the upcoming fiscal year as council begins to deliberate its financial plan later this month.

He said he is also exploring recommending giving employees a cost of living adjustment “that will reflect the excellent work they put forward every day.”
His comments came following this evening’s city council meeting in which he gave an update on the completion of the refinancing arrangement for the Roanoke Rapids Theatre debt and bringing to an end the original 2007 bond agreement. The new agreement brings to an end a swap agreement and implements a new bond financing loan with Bank of America.
In his report to council, the city manager said, “The two components of the new loan package, taxable and tax-exempt, will cost approximately $1 million with an annual savings of over $750,000 from the original bond package.”
Scherer said the first quarterly payment isn’t due until August 1 which, he said, “helps our budget balances, as previously we owed over $900,000 as of July 1.”
He also recognized the efforts of Mayor Emery Doughtie, Finance Director Leigh Etheridge and City Attorney Gilbert Chichester “for their efforts in getting this complicated financial transaction achieved without difficulty.”
With the negotiations now past, Scherer said he proposes to meet with council on May 31 at 1:30 p.m. to review the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The meeting is planned to be held in the first floor conference room of city hall on Roanoke Avenue following a 9 a.m. tour of city facilities that day.
Etheridge noted in her report to council the April costs associated with the 2007 bond package totaled $107,898.38. That figure included a $46,904.17 swap payment; an $11,705.22 interest payment; a $43,664.81 quarterly remarketing fee; a $3,839.18 interest payment to Merrill Lynch; a $1,640 administrative fee and a $145 wire fee.
Councilman Carl Ferebee thanked the team “for getting the financial transaction achievement.”
Doughtie said while the completion of the deal went smoothly, “Getting through the refinancing, there was a lot of difficulty along the way. The Local Government Commission and the bond counsel were constantly asking for more information. It went off with no difficulty at all.”


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