Pascagoula will issue $15 million in public works, utility bonds

tleytham@sunherald.comJune 25, 2014 

PASCAGOULA -- Help may be on the way to residents who have street or drainage problems as the city moves forward with plans to issue $15 million in bonds for public works and utility projects.

A resolution of intent will be presented at the July 1 meeting with a combined bond issue for water, sewer, gas, streets and infrastructure improvements, city attorney Eddie Williams said.

If the council approves the measure, the targeted issue date will be Aug. 5.

The city decided to combine public works and utility projects into one general-obligation bond instead of two bonds, Williams said.

"It will save considerable money," he said.

Working on the storm water, streets and utility projects at the same time just makes sense, City Manager Joe Huffman said. "You want to do the utility work as you're doing the streets."

And utility departments' revenue -- water, sewer and gas -- can still be used to retire that portion of the bond, Williams said.

Residents may see a gradual increase in utility rates, and a millage increase could be used for the debt service on the bond as well.

The maximum the city could impose is 2.7 mills, which would come out to $27 in taxes on a $100,000 home.

The council did not choose specific projects for each pot of money, but will rely on city staff to help prioritize projects.

"We've got enough flexibility that if something we considered a priority last year has changed and something else has become more pressing and more important, we can shift to that," Williams said. "We're not really tied to a list."

Registered voters have until Aug. 5 to sign a petition if they don't want the city to proceed. The petition requires signatures of 1,500 registered voters, or 10 percent.

Otherwise, the city can issue the bonds, and has two years to do so, Williams said.

What's not on the table at the July 1 meeting, however, is $10 million in bonds the city will use for a sportsplex and other recreation projects.

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