Seymour looks to borrow money for projects
By Rich Palzewic
SEYMOUR – At its Monday, Oct. 12, in-person meeting, the Seymour city council laid out plans to borrow money for several upcoming projects.
Mayor Ryan Kraft said because interest rates are at historic lows and the city hasn’t had to borrow since 2012, it makes sense to finance the projects.
“We haven’t seen interest rates this low ever,” said Kraft. “We’ve been fiscally responsible over the years in the city, but when we can borrow money at these levels, it’s a no-brainer.”
Kraft said compared to other municipalities, the city is currently at about 3 or 4 percent of its total debt capacity.
“Even with what we’d like to borrow, it would only put us at about 20 percent of our debt capacity,” he said.
Kraft said the final rate will be locked in Nov. 9, but an estimate is a 2.35-percent rate, payable over 20 years.
Funds would be dispersed and be available on or around Dec. 2.
“The projects add up to about $1.24 million, with our first payment due June 1, 2021,” he said. “When we get to 2027, if for some reason interest rates are lower than they are now, we could refinance the remaining debt at a lower interest rate.”
Monies will be used for street improvement and parks and public grounds projects.
“What we’ve talked about is infrastructure projects like streets, storm and upgrading the sewer system,” said Kraft. “We have an area on Lee Street that is problematic, undersized and antiquated. There would also be some work on Main Street with resurfacing. Eventually, that street will have to be reconstructed, but that’s years down the road.”
Kraft also said monies could be used for structural improvements on city buildings where the money is not in the city budget.
“At Lake Park, the bridge needs to be redone and the pavilion needs to be worked on,” he said. “We are trying to balance things between our priorities to take care of failed infrastructure, green space management and modernizing our public facilities. There’s not enough money available to modernize everything, but it’s a start.”
Kraft said if interest rates remain low, the city could look to borrow again in five to seven years.
“Two years from now, something else might come up where we need to borrow a large amount of money,” he said. “It could be for a large development or something similar in nature.”
In other news, there were 18 rescue squad runs during the month of September.
“Most of the incidents were residential in nature,” said Kraft. “It was a slow month, which is a good thing.”
Rescue director Mary Gruel said there’s a reason things are currently a bit slower.
“COVID-19 is affecting how busy we are,” she said. “The same thing happened in early March and April when COVID began. Some people are a little nervous about coming to the hospital with a recent rise in community cases.”