Warrant contract will fund expansion of sports complex

Published 12:12pm Wednesday, August 7, 2013

One of the final steps toward expanding Wetumpka’s sports complex was taken by city council members during a special-called meeting last week.
A resolution was approved for the authorization and execution of a warrant purchase contract that – if the final plan is accepted – will provide $6 million for the project.
The proposed financing will be divided into two General Obligation Taxable Warrants totaling $12.2 million. Series 2013-B will be $2.335 million and Series 2013-A will be $9.86 million.
City Clerk Janice Whorton said the warrants would refund the remainder of previous bond issues used to finance a sewer extension and the first phase of the sports complex, along with the $1 million line of credit that funded an extensive paving, curbing and sidewalk project in west Wetumpka.
In addition, the new warrants will provide money for expansion at the sports complex and refinancing a loan on property on Alabama Highway 14 purchased for industrial development several years ago.
“The refinancing will give us a better rate, but for the same length of time,” said Whorton.
She said payments on the restructured existing debt, plus the additional money to be borrowed, shouldn’t put a strain on the city’s budget.
“The payments will be less than what we’ve had in some previous years,” Whorton said.
Merchant Capital is developing the bond issue plan for the city. Moody’s Investors Service has assigned an A1 rating to the proposed warrants, which will be secured by a limited ad valorem tax pledge.
The sports complex expansion is slated to involve an addition of a baseball hub and adult softball hub to complement the existing five-field softball field hub.
Earlier this year, Mayor Jerry Willis said the final plan for the facility could reach beyond the current sports complex site.
“We’re working toward a plan to put this entire thing together,” said Willis. “We’ve got to look and see how this encompasses the other properties. Can we tie it into the MLK Center and have some major recreation facilities? We are just one step behind from being where we need to be. But we are very close to turning that corner.”
Whorton said the final version of the warrant purchase contract should be ready for council members to vote on at the Aug. 19 meeting. If approved, work on the sports complex should begin soon after.
“Give us a chance to get everything built and get organized,” said Willis. “We’ll be playing ball again next summer.”

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