Mason City council sets hearing for sale of capital improvement bonds

MASON CITY — The City Council in Mason City last night approved setting July 23rd for the public hearing for the sale of bonds connected to capital improvement projects that are part of the Fiscal Year 2020 budget. The council during the recently completed budget session approved the city’s Fiscal Years 2020-to-2024 capital improvements plan with projects to be funded with approximately $5.9 million of general obligation bonds.

One member of the council raised the question on whether or not the city should look at trying to pass a capital improvements levy to help pay for smaller projects right away instead of using general obligation bonds to pay for projects over a 10-year period with interest. Councilman Will Symonds asked City Finance Director Kevin Jacobson whether or not the city could have saved money if residents had passed a capital improvements levy two years ago.

Jacobson says, “Based on how we were going to set that up, there’s a few projects, and they’re totaling about $160,000. Most of the projects on the list would be $30,000 and under that we would have included in the capital improvements levy.” Symonds and Jacobson confirmed in their conversation that if they guessed at about 3% interest, it’s about $25,000 in interest that the city will pay for bonding out projects like this for 10 years.”

During the “Ask the Mayor” program on AM-1300 KGLO earlier today, Mayor Bill Schickel was asked if the capital improvements levy should be put on the ballot once again for voters to decide. “I happen to think the voters are pretty smart and I respect the judgment of the voters . Here’s the thing we have to look at — do we have the bandwidth for that right now? We’ve got a lot of projects as everyone knows, we’re doing a whole lot of things, and whether we want to take on another a campaign of that nature not as something that I’m open to, but we’ll have to wait and see.”

54-percent of the voters said no in March of 2017 when they were asked to approve a capital improvements levy of up to 67-and-a-half cents per $1000 assessed valuation.