Colfax still considering how to refinance $1 million debt

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX — How to pay for it all?

That’s the question Brian Reilly of Ehlers and Associates, the village’s financial advisor, attempted to answer at the Colfax Village Board’s October 22 meeting.

As of December 31, the village will have an outstanding debt principal of $997,771 with a remaining borrowing capacity of $1.12 million, Reilly said.

The borrowing capacity is based on five percent of the equalized value of $42.4 million as of January 1, he said.

Reilly said he recommends maintaining 15 to 20 percent in reserved borrowing capacity.

Financing the Park Drive extension for the Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center’s building project would result in a remaining general obligation borrowing capacity of $970,000, Reilly said.

According to documents Reilly provided to the village board, the water utility will be paying $54,000 for the Park Drive extension, and the sewer utility will be paying nearly $32,000 for the Park Drive extension.

The water utility currently pays $65,000 a year for revenue bond payments, and the sewer utility pays $40,000 per year in revenue bond payments.

The village currently pays about $60,000 a year in debt service payments.

Other projects the village will have to find a way to pay for are painting and repairing the water tower at $123,000, Evergreen Cemetery at $20,000 and possibly a phosphorus mitigation solution at an estimated cost of $400,000 to $500,000

Future street improvement costs would be an estimated $1.1 million for the village, $336,000 for the water utility and $298,000 for the sewer utility.

Streets that could be considered include East Third Avenue, East Fourth Avenue, Roosevelt Street, Cedar Street, Balsam Street, Pine Street and Maple Street.

The village board would need to do long-term planning for the street projects, Reilly said.

“The village’s borrowing capacity would be strained if the you take on the streets in the near future,” he said.

Chris Olson, village trustee and chair of the parks and cemetery committee, said the Evergreen Cemetery project could cost around $20,000, which would include $8,000 for surveying the cemetery, $2,000 for a Certified Survey Map for the additional acreage, and $6,000 or more for road improvements.

Cedar Corporation will have to make another certified survey map for the property obtained from the school district, Olson noted.

Reilly is recommending that the village refinance current debt so that the debt payments are extended for the maximum term to eliminate balloon payments.

The next step for the Colfax Village Board will be to decide which projects to include with the refinancing.

Reilly said he would come back in November with options for the village board to consider.

Other business

In other business, the Colfax Village Board:

• Approved paying $944 toward the $3,944 project to install new lights in the Colfax Public Library. Lisa Ludwig, library director, said the existing lights are 40 years old and that new lights would be more cost effective than paying $200 to replace each ballast in the existing lights. The library board has agreed to pay $3,000 toward the project, she said. Bear Valley Electric will be installing the new lights.

• Approved asking Karl’s Chevrolet to submit a bid for a Tahoe SUV to replace the Tahoe SUV currently used as a squad car by the Colfax Police Department. Squad vehicles are replaced every three years, and village board members agreed that they preferred to patronize the local dealership. Chris Olson, village trustee, noted that if the village purchased a Ford squad vehicle, warranty work would have to be done in Bloomer or Menomonie. The Tahoe in use now has had no major mechanical problems, he said.

• Approved proceeding with the sale of a list of surplus items. The sale will be advertised in the Colfax Messenger.

• Approved meeting on October 29 to review the proposed budget for 2013.