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Panama City hopes to improve water and sewer service through bond refinancing

By Zack McDonald, The News Herald, Panama City, Fla.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

April 21--PANAMA CITY -- City Commissioners hope more than $500,000 saved on debt payments can be used to enhance some utility services.

At Tuesday's commission meeting, Gary Akers, the city's bond financial adviser, will present the city with a chance to refinance its water and sewer bonds. Refinancing the bonds would save Panama City about $525,000 over five years, according to city documents.

With the money saved annually on debt payments, city officials hope the funds will be used to improve water and sewer service.

"Right now, we've got one or two people going out to turn water off and on or address issues," Mayor Greg Brudnicki said. "Now, we might be able to hire more people to provide a better service for our residents."

By refinancing the loan, Hancock Bank would purchase a $7.8 million principal note. Current interest rates on the bond fluctuate between 4 and 5.125 percent, but the refinanced rate would be fixed at 1.55 percent for the city. Under the agreement, the bank could charge no fees for its own benefit, according to a letter from Steven Cole, Hancock's vice president.

"However, we would require the city to reimburse the bank for 'bank counsel,' " his letter to the city stated. "Bank counsel could not exceed $5,000."

Commissioners meet at 8 a.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

They also are scheduled to consider:

The Community Rating System Progress Report for submission to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

NFIP requires municipalities to submit progress reports that can determine residential flood insurance rates.

According to the city's report, several projects are in the works to prevent flooding in residential areas. Plans to raise the road surface on Kristanna Drive, storm system upgrades on College Avenue and Wilmont Avenue, the storm water pond project on Lisenby Avenue and 13 pollutant separators installed around the city are underway.

An engineering fee of $94,268 to Zeit Energy for design and economic analysis of alternatives for construction of a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station.

Zeit will conduct an economic analysis of converting the city's solid waste fleet to natural gas and determine the appropriate type of refueling station. The company will design a new solid waste operations complex and a package for advertising for construction of a natural gas station.

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An ordinance reducing the annual license fee for businesses with live entertainment from $150 to $100.

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(c)2014 The News Herald (Panama City, Fla.)

Visit The News Herald (Panama City, Fla.) at www.newsherald.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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