11/06/13 — Council backs $18.9M bond referendum

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Council backs $18.9M bond referendum

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on November 6, 2013 1:46 PM

The Goldsboro City Council voted to begin the process of getting an $18.9 million bond referendum on the ballot in May during its work session Monday night.

Goldsboro Parks and Recreation Superintendent Felicia Brown gave a presentation to the Council on what the money would go to pay for during the meeting.

The money would be used for construction of a new W.A. Foster Recreation Center, the construction of a multi-sports complex, improvements to Herman Park and Herman Park Center and to pave city greenways.

The bond was originally recommended at $18 million, $6 million for each of the first three projects.

The greenway paving was added in after Councilman Chuck Allen said the referendum needed to contain something for everyone in the city.

City Manager Scott Stevens said that he felt $18.9 million was the right figure to seek approval to sell regardless of whether that many bonds are actually sold.

It would provide a buffer if more money is needed, he said.

"We don't have to sell that much. I don't want to say it's impossible, but it's hard to change a bond," Stevens said.

The bond, if passed in a vote, would raise the property tax rate by about 3 cents per $100 of valuation bringing in $600,000 more a year to serve as collateral for the project.

If the cost of the new W.A. Foster is lowered to the $4 million desired by the Council the rate would drop to an increase of 1.75 cents per $100.

The current property tax rate is 65 cents.

"I think it's the right number because we need to do a lot of stuff and if we do it without (the bond) we'll be doing it for 20 years," Allen said. "It seems like we're 20 years behind. $18.9 million is a reasonable number."

Councilman Michael Headen was hesitant to give approval for city staff to move forward with the bond without knowing if the multi-sports complex would be built in conjunction with the Goldsboro Family Y or Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

"I want to see some parts of the partnership nailed down," he said.

Allen said that the more time the staff had to prepare the project proposal for the referendum the smoother it would go.

Allen made the motion to allow staff to move forward which passed unanimously.

The Council plans to have a detailed plan for how the funds would be used to share with the public by February.

If the bond proposal is not ready in May, the City Council would pull the bond from the ballot.

The cost of holding the referendum would be about $70,000.