Washington’s City Council meeting Monday night was a good place to get a quick course on government finance and the effect Congressional action could have on the cost of water in small town Indiana. The City of Washington wants to refinance the Bond Anticipation Notes issued five years ago and sought financial advice. Mayor Joe Wellman explains:
But a sticking point is the competing Senate and House versions of the tax bills being debated in Congress. The House proposals eliminate tax free status for municipal bonds, while the Senate version keeps them. With higher interest rates on taxable bonds, the Senate bill would save the City, and local utility users money. City officials also favor the capitalization of the interest on the bond issue as a way to keep from raising water rates in Washington. The Council will vote on the bond issue at its first meeting in January.
In other matters…the council heard a report from David Henson from Architectural Design Concepts on a review of the City’s Facilities. The review began about six months ago when the City authorized a review of the current and future needs of its 14 Departments which are spread throughout the city in several separate buildings. Henson told the Council that only one of the City’s Departments was ADA compliant. He also noted major needs for storage and office space in the Clerk-Treasurer, Utility, Building Commissioner, and Mayor’s offices. Henson pointed out that traffic often backs up into adjoining streets as people wait to use the drive-thru to pay utility bills. Henson’s also noted that the two major vacant buildings on Washington’s Main Street presented problems that made them impractical for the City’s use. After hearing the report, Mayor Wellman noted that the report was for long-term planning and no action was planned. Wellman said the facility review would give community leaders a base for future planning as the city continues to grow.