June 24, 2011
Accessing additional funds for Town Center improvements such as roads and parking will soon become a reality thanks to action taken at this week’s University Place City Council meeting.
In 2009, the State Legislature created a Local Revitalization Financing (LRF) demonstration project to enable several cities, including University Place, to use revenues from local sales taxes to pay back bonds used to finance public improvements within a designated area.
The City has been working for several years to access this funding which will help pay for necessary public improvements. Under the LRF process, the state agrees to shift a portion of the sales taxes it collects from U.P. residents over to the City for use in the Town Center area.
There is no increase in the amount of sales taxes paid by our citizens; instead, the LRF process enables more of our sales tax dollars to stay here in our community to make needed improvements. If we did not use these funds, the money that our citizens paid would go for services in other communities.
Participation in the LRF process required several steps including:
*Creating a Town Center Project Authority which is an independent legal entity which will issue the bonds to pay for improvements. The City Council will serve as board members of the Authority whose sole purpose and responsibility is to issue bonds. The primary reason for creating the Authority, however, is to ensure that the City and its taxpayers have no liability or responsibility for paying the bonds. Instead, the bondholders can only look to state funds.
*Imposing a Local Option Sales and Use Tax –The ordinance is necessary to designate the amount of the State’s revenue that will be redistributed to pay for the issued bonds. This action does NOT increase sales tax paid by residents.
*Approving an Interlocal Agreement with the Town Center Project Authority – Under this agreement, the Authority will issue bonds for the purpose of financing the completion of certain projects. (The City has already identified a host of projects that need completion; however, the sequence of the projects will depend upon developer negotiations).
*After the City Council created the Authority, it reconvened as the Board of the Authority to authorize the issuance of $7.5 million in Revenue Bonds. In our original LRF application, the City requested .24% of the State’s proceeds of local sales tax collected which will generate approximately $5 million but will depend upon the interest rate at the time the bonds are sold.
Our independent Bond counsel will now go to the market to price the bonds and identify purchasers. The Authority will meet again on June 27 to finalize the bond sale.
Other council items included:
– It is legal to purchase fireworks in University Place between June 28 and July 4; however, it is only legal to discharge
fireworks between 9 a.m. and midnight on the 4th of July.
Please be considerate of your neighbors (especially those who work the next day) and pick up afterwards to help keep your neighborhood clean. A list of legal and illegal fireworks is available on the City website at www.CityofUP.com
at the Fireworks News page
*Clarifying the City Manager’s authority to approve change orders within budgeted amounts on contracts;
*City Manager’s Report – Mr. Sugg reported on the City Manager’s public meeting last week regarding updates on Town Center and the City’s financial status. The meeting is being broadcast on UPTV and will be available on the City’s website as well.
As always, please feel free to send me your comments and questions.
Enjoy the summer!
Mayor, City of University Place