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Camden could save money with bond, loan agreements

Posted: January 10, 2014 5:03 p.m.
Updated: January 13, 2014 5:00 a.m.

The city of Camden could recognize some savings if it is able to refinance a 10-year-old bond as well as amend a large, multimillion dollar loan from South Carolina’s State Revolving Fund (SRF). Camden City Council will learn more about the possible savings during its first work session of the year Tuesday afternoon.

A $9.83 million portion of a 2004 bond series will reach maturity at the end of March. In March 2013, the city refinanced a portion of the 2004 bond connected to water infrastructure improvements. According to City Manager Mel Pearson that portion of the bond can be refinanced now.

“The current market interest rate presents the city with an opportunity to refund [refinance] at a lower interest rate in a bank qualified loan,” Pearson wrote to council in a memo attached to the work session agenda.

Pearson will also discuss possible savings that may result from amending the city’s SRF loan for construction of Camden’s new wastewater treatment plant. According to a copy of a letter Pearson wrote to the SRF attached to the work session agenda, the city has had to maintain a debt service reserve fund equal to one-half of the annual debt service for the loan. However, new revolving fund authority policies now state that “issuers” -- such as the city of Camden -- maintaining an “A” bond rating from either Standard & Poor’s or Moody’s do not have to maintain such a fund.

Pearson is asking the SRF to amend the loan agreement to reflect that policy and transfer the funds in the current debt service reserve.

Also during the work session, Pearson will present a development timetable for the city’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget. The new fiscal year will begin July 1.

Staff is suggesting that initial budget reviews with department heads take place and a revenue forecast be created between Feb. 17 and March 1. There would then be budget reviews with Pearson from March 3 to March 14. Pearson and staff would then present the budget to city council during a special meeting to take place March 19 from noon to 5 p.m. If necessary, a follow-up budget work session is scheduled for April 2 from 3 to 5 p.m. A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for April 8 at the beginning of council’s regular meeting that evening. Council would then consider the budget on first reading at its May 13 meeting and final reading at its May 27 meeting.

In other work session business:

• Pearson will report on a five-year update to the city’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan, with a recommendation to hold a public hearing on the matter Feb. 11 and vote on the updates at council’s Feb. 25 and March 11 meetings;

• Camden Economic Development Director Wade Luther will discuss plans for Camden to sponsor the 2014 Cabela’s King Kat Tournament Eastern Championship on Lake Wateree. The catfish tournament will be televised nationally and feature more than 80 teams; and

• Camden Public Works’ Sam Davis will inform council about the city’s wastewater treatment plant’s upgrade being featured in December’s edition of Water & Wastes Digest as a “top project.”

Council will also enter into executive session to discuss an as yet undisclosed “personnel matter.” Following the work session, members will move to Camden Fire Department for a fire safety trailer demonstration.

During council’s regular meeting Tuesday evening, council will consider:

• second and final reading of an ordinance authorizing the receipt of an easement on property owned by the Historic Camden Foundation;

• first reading of an ordinance designating a residential property on Broad Street as a Local Historic Landmark;

• first reading of an ordinance reestablishing and amending a cable franchise with TruVista; and

• a resolution supporting the Municipal Association of South Carolina’s 2013-2104 legislative agenda to “direct more local decision making to the local elected officials that govern the state’s 270 cities and towns.”

Tuesday’s work session will begin at 4 p.m.; the regular meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. Both meetings will be held in council chambers on the second floor of Camden City Hall, 1000 Lyttleton St., and are open to the public.

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