Metropolis Council on Wednesday launched an ordinance that authorizes the borrowing of $7.7 million in 15-year bonds for capital tasks, together with avenue resurfacing, curbs and sidewalks, visitors sign and streetlight upgrades, storm sewer enhancements, parks and recreation enhancements, constructing enhancements and new data expertise gear.
The borrowing will carry the town as much as the 10 p.c advisable most in debt service, as a perform of internet working revenues — with the possible necessity of an analogous borrowing in two years that will take the town past that restrict, stated Metropolis Supervisor Ken Decker, consistent with his latest argument that metropolis funds aren’t as strong as they appeared after Altoona exited the state’s Act 47 distressed municipalities program in 2017.
Furthermore, the brand new borrowing pays for some gear with anticipated helpful lives shorter than the payback interval — together with private safety gear and radio upgrades for the fireplace division, Tasers and digital actuality coaching gear for the police division, an IT community improve, servers, computer systems and copiers for numerous departments, safety cameras and cellphone system upgrades, purchases that must be made inside a municipality’s common finances, if doable, Decker has stated.
For now, nonetheless, the borrowing is required to get the town out of a “tight spot,” Decker stated.
His hope is to finally lower bills and lift revenues so the town can fold many such bills into the annual finances, Decker stated final month.
Council can undertake the bond ordinance at its subsequent assembly, then decide on the bond subject 30 days therefore, stated Finance Director Omar Strohm.
In one other matter, the town ought to be capable to make use of no less than a portion of a $350,000 grant it was just lately awarded for buy, rehabilitation and outfitting of the previous J&J recycling middle on Margaret Avenue, even when council decides to not proceed with the challenge, based on Decker.
The unique plan was for the grant to reimburse the town for getting the property for $187,000, then use the remainder of the cash, together with a $39,000 native match, to do the upgrades and purchase the mandatory gear.
However final month, council members advised that re-establishing a recycling middle within the coronary heart of an space that’s shedding its longtime grittiness to redevelopment can be counterproductive.
Officers thought that if the town declines to observe by way of on the challenge, it could lose the complete grant, however a dialog with the Division of Environmental Safety made clear that the town can settle for the portion of the grant that’s slated for gear purchases, then redirect that cash for recycling-related gear on the Buckhorn, the place the Intermunicipal Relations Committee — of which Altoona is a member — has a recycling facility, Decker stated.
Officers on Wednesday didn’t know, although, how a lot of the grant is slated for gear.
One of many issues about accepting the complete grant and continuing with the challenge is that it could bind the town to make use of the constructing for a recycling middle, officers stated final month.
The latest dialog with DEP offered solely partial readability on that, based on Decker.
Accepting the grant would certainly commit the town to preserving the property as a recycling middle, however the division declined to say how lengthy, Decker stated.
As an alternative, it stated that it could monitor using the property, then resolve at some future date when it has outlived its usefulness as a recycling middle, he stated.
Mirror Employees Author William Kibler is at 949-7038.