Bond counsel talks to CoF

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City of Fairfield Administrator Nate Smith (seated in center frame) discusses the pros and cons of switching to iPads for council meetings during the Tuesday, Jan. 23, meeting.
Photo by April Walker

Several Fairfield citizens – including former mayor Roy Hill – voiced their opinions at Tuesday night’s council meeting regarding the possibility of a $4 million bond. All four speakers are concerned about the bond amount, as well as payments and the length of the bond. Don Thornton compared the bond to a suffocating person and asked the city to reconsider before “burying Fairfield in debt.”

“Is it morally or ethically right for Fairfield citizens to be strapped with that kind of debt?” asked Barry Capps, owner of Capps True Value. “In my opinion, the council should walk away from this bond.”

Because the citizens spoke during the citizen’s forum portion of the meeting, no councilman could address the comments being made.

“If you’re struggling to figure out why we need more money, I’ve looked at your budget,” Capps said.

Hill requested the city reconsider a bond issue until the economy picks up, saying the bond is a “really bad idea.”

Dusty Traylor, a representative with RBC Capital Markets and the city’s bond counsel, offered four scenarios for the city as they consider this option. Traylor said the city was “positioned pretty well to be able to look at something like this.”

“The city has done a good job of paying down existing debt,” he explained.

City Administrator Nate Smith suggested the council only hear Traylor’s presentation and discuss the bond issue at a later meeting, so no decision could be made.

Fairfield’s current outstanding bond debt is $1.57 million, said Traylor, but it has been as high as $6 million. The annual payments are at $400,000, which will soon drop to $300,000, and be gone by 2020.

The council was recently informed their bond rating went down according to Moody’s, a leading provider of credit ratings. The city was an A2 and is now rated at an A3. Traylor said Moody’s cited a declining fund balance and declining sales tax as their reasoning.

The type of bond the city is considering can only be used for capital improvements and Traylor said the types of improvements Fairfield is looking at are in line with what other cities are currently doing.

In other council action, in an effort to save money the city is switching to iPads instead of printing paperwork for meetings. With a suggestion from

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