ZACHARY — The City Council introduced an ordinance Tuesday that would allow the city to borrow up to $5 million for continuing work on the municipal sewer system.
No objections to the bond sale were raised at a public hearing held on the proposed borrowing.
Bond attorney Jerry Osborne said utility fees would be used to retire the debt over 22 years.
The city plans to borrow the money from the Department of Environmental Quality at an interest rate not exceeding 0.95 percent. The proposed loan would be an extension of the $9.3 million the city borrowed from DEQ at the same interest rate in 2012.
Osborne warned the council that the city’s application to sell the bonds would have to go through the federal government, meaning that there would be a delay due to the government shutdown.
Judging from the rate of progress on the sewer project, the money won’t be needed until at least January, Mayor David Amhrein said.
In a related move, the council authorized bids be taken for a gas line project stretching from Live Oak Trace on Church Street to the railroad tracks on La. 64.
City engineer Bianca Carambat told the council that $100,000 of the project, which calls for replacing old gas PVC lines with polyethylene or PE gas pipes, will be covered by a state grant. The project is expected to cost $300,000 and the remaining $200,000 will come from the city’s utility surplus, the mayor said.
The council authorized the mayor to begin negotiations with Florida Gas for the building of a gas transmission station to replace the station on La. 964. An outdated natural gas pipeline owned by American Midstream between the state line and south Baton Rouge will be closed in about six months, forcing the city to stop using the transmission station.
During the council’s Sept. 24 meeting, the mayor estimated that the new transmission station would cost $400,000 to $500,000, which the city would pay for using utility funds.
The new station likely will be located on Carny Road, the mayor said.
CITY WORKER PAY: The council changed the pay plans for the police department secretary and records clerks from 15-year step plans to 20-year step plans. The change will allow employees in the two positions to continue to receive three percent “step” increases for up to twenty years, assuming the workers meet the requirements to advance. After employees run out of steps, they are only eligible to receive one percent cost of living raises, city attorney John Hopewell said.
Most city employees are on 20-year plans, police officers being one exception.