The Saratoga Sun -

Saratoga receives 6th penny funds

Initial disbursement of $230,000 accepted by Town of Saratoga, bond closing meeting to be held at later date

 


The Town of Saratoga and other entities in Carbon County will be receiving their first payouts from the 2019 Specific Purpose Sales and Excise Tax (6th penny tax) totaling $1.5 million. 

At their July 7 meeting, the Saratoga Town Council read and adopted resolution 2020-09 which authorized the Carbon County treasurer to distribute $1,524,249.26 to “sponsoring entities” while depositing $2 million in an escrow account.

“We had a meeting July 1 up at Rawlins and had a number of items that came before the board that needed to be taken back to all respective entities’ councils. A couple of them are just some updates for you guys, a couple of them are some action items,” said Councilmember Jon Nelson, who represents the Town of Saratoga on the Specific Purpose Tax Joint Powers Board. “First thing on the agenda is Resolution 2020-09, which is basically the same thing as the item further down; the distribution agreement. The distribution agreement has become Resolution 2020-09.”

Under the joint resolution, Saratoga will be receiving $231,295.32 “for water, sanitary sewer, street, pool and ambulance barn improvements.” On the ballot during the 2019 Specific Purpose Tax election, the Town of Saratoga listed the following projects:

• Rehabilitate the water storage tank;

• Rehabilitate or replace water mains under the North Platte River, Spring Avenue and River Street;

• Rehabilitate or replace over 8,000 feet of clay tile sewer mains at risk of failing;

• Replace Spring Avenue from River Street to 4th Street

• Replace 13th Street from Bridge Avenue to town limits

• Improve Rochester, Saratoga and Main Avenues between 10th and 13th street, improve Chatterton Avenue, State Street and Walnut Street from River Street to 3rd street and improve River Street between Walnut and River Street;

• Rehabilitate the wading pool and resurface the pool deck at the municipal swimming pool;

• Aid in funding an addition to the South Central Wyoming Emergency Management Services (SCWEMS) ambulance barn in Saratoga.

The estimated amount for those projects totaled $7.9 million.

Following the reading of the joint resolution, the council began to discuss what project to start using the initial disbursement. Nelson stated that the addition to the SCWEMS barn in Saratoga was the first commitment made by the Town of Saratoga, but that he had also had discussions with Jon Winter, director of public works, about the water storage tank and working through the Wyoming Water Development Commission.

Nelson also explained that this initial disbursement of funds was intended to aid the involved entities through the next 30-45 days as it was expected the bonds for the 6th penny funds would be selling within that time.

“Basically, there’s been some delays and difficulties in selling the bonds. I think we’ve all talked about that to some degree. At the last meeting on July 1, there was some significant progress made and some really good discussion at that meeting,” Nelson said. “So, I think that everybody’s expectation that we should have those bonds sold within 30-45 days.”

The council member added that, when it came to bonding, there would be two different tiers. While the Carbon County government would be able to get a rating on their bonds and sell at that rating, the municipalities would not have that ability. Due to that, the bonds would be split with the County bonding on their own while the municipalities would bond together. According to Nelson, while those latter bonds would still be unrated, the municipal advisor to the Specific Purpose Tax Joint Powers Board felt those bonds could still be sold.

“Because we’ve collected over $3 million as a county, we have the ability to do that distribution, retain $2 million and an account that will approve the rating.

Hopefully, in August, we’ll be back in the cycle like we were in the 2009 tax where we’ll be able to draw on that money,” said Nelson. “So, to the point that it gets to when we get ready to do the water treatment tank, we should have some of this money that will have already been dispersed. By then, there should be a bond sale and our ability to go draw through the escrow account on any other monies for that project that we would need.”

“In essence, we’re not going to start a project without the money to pay for it. We’re going to have the money to start it but not necessarily to complete and we’re going to have to wait for the rest of the money to come,” said Keel.

In addition to the information about the initial disbursement and the selling of the bonds, Nelson informed the council that there would need to be a “bond closing meeting” held following the sale of the bonds.

“All the entities are going to get together at the same time, likely at the Platte Valley Community Center, sometime in early August and we will all need to, within 24 hours after the bonds close, all call special meetings to order and all approve the sale of the bonds,” Nelson said. “So, all 10 entities in Carbon County are going to have to all come together in one room, call meetings to order, we’re all going to need to have a quorum. It’s going to be quite an orchestrated event. As soon as we have a date for that, I will let you guys know and hopefully all the entities can make a quorum.”

The next meeting of the Saratoga Town Council will be at 6 p.m. on July 21 at Saratoga Town Hall.

 

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