OGDEN — Ogden City is considering a new bond measure that would, among other things, fund a major lighting upgrade at Lindquist Field and pay for energy conservation projects around the city.
To fully understand the issue, a brief recap is needed.
In 1997, revenue bonds totaling $900,000 were issued to finance the acquisition and construction of the baseball stadium. In 2006, the bond was refunded and wrapped with additional bonds worth $2.87 million that went to the construction of the city’s Public Works building. In November 2017, the city issued another bond related to the stadium, totaling $3 million, which has been used to expand and renovate the facility.
The city administration is now proposing to refund the 2017 bond and is recommending an additional bond of $800,000 for the stadium lighting and other structural repairs, and one for $4.5 million to fund energy conservation measures at various city-owned facilities.
According to a letter sent to the city council from the administration, refunding the 2017 bond (which essentially involves issuing a new bond to pay off an old one, at lower interest rates) will save the city $200,000. The bond currently has an outstanding balance of about $1.8 million.
Under the administration’s proposal, the three bond items will be rolled into one transaction.
“With the need to finance new improvements and the fact that the existing bonds can be refunded for an economic savings, it makes sense to combine these bonds into one transaction,” the letter states.
The term of the new bond would not run more than 15 years and would be paid for with franchise tax revenues, which are typically charged to corporations.
Gregg Buxton, Ogden City’s management services director, said city officials’ wish list of items to be covered by the bond was more than twice what it is now, which means plenty of work around the city will for now be left undone.
The energy conservation items includes things like boiler replacements, new air temperature sensors and thermostats at city facilities and more than $3 million in lighting upgrades, including all city-owned street lights.
As for the baseball stadium, Ogden Chief Administrative Officer Mark Johnson said the new LED lighting will bring the stadium up to minor league baseball’s minimum standard. Johnson said the stadium lights at Lindquist have not been up to code for several years.
“And we (Ogden City) pay the light bill,” he said. “So we will see the savings from the LED.”
Ogden City Engineer Justin Anderson said the stadium also needs structural repairs in certain where water is eroding concrete.
Johnson said the revenue bonds currently at play are different from general obligation bonds, which are legally required to appear on a ballot. According to www.municipalbonds.com (a company that provides research, data and education on municipal bond investments), revenue bonds are guaranteed by money that doesn’t come from taxes levied on ordinary citizens, like property taxes and sales taxes.
The Ogden City Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the bond at 6 p.m. Aug. 20 at the Ogden Municipal Building, 2549 Washington Blvd.