Huntington council finalizes funding methods to close landfill

The Huntington Common Council finalized the funding methods for the Huntington City Landfill closure project and the police station project at its meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 13.

The city will utilize the lease bond approach to pay for both projects. To use this funding method, council previously authorized the creation of two statutory legal entities, the City of Huntington Redevelopment Authority and the Huntington Municipal Building Corporation, which have the authority to issue bonds that will fund the landfill closure project and police station project, respectively.

At the meeting, council passed resolutions that approved leases between the Redevelopment Authority and the City of Huntington Redevelopment Commission and the Building Corporation and the City of Huntington. The legal entities will serve as lessors while the Redevelopment Commission and the city will serve as lessees, obligated to make payments toward the principal and interest on the bonds issued.

While the city will pay off its lease using, in part, earmarked local option income tax dollars, the Redevelopment Commission will use the funds generated from a property tax increase to make payments on its lease. Heidi Amspaugh, of consulting firm Umbaugh, stated that the impact of that increase would be $14.50 annually for homeowners whose residences reflect the median home value in Huntington, which is $77,300.

For the landfill closure project, the anticipated bond issue is $4,685,000; for the police station project, the anticipated issue is $3 million.

Ultimately, both of those totals, once bids are accepted for each project, will be amended to reflect the bid amounts.

Both bonds will be paid off over the course of 20 years, which is the maximum term, starting in 2019.

Mayor Brooks Fetters notes, though, that the city will consider early payoff opportunities if they arise.

“So, as the city evaluates things and we have resources, our desire’s always to pay debt down as quickly as possible,” he says.

The cost of the new police station, which will be constructed in the city parking lot on Cherry Street, is estimated to be $4.8 million. The city is looking to contribute $2 million to that project, using cash it has on hand in various accounts.