SYLACAUGA, Ala. – The Sylacauga City Council has initiated efforts to refinance some of the city’s current debt to take advantage of low interest rates while also borrowing additional funds for upgrading roads, infrastructure, and other long-term capital projects.

At its first meeting of the month on Tuesday night, the council authorized Piper Jaffray & Co. to proceed with preparation of related documents. The city expects one-time savings of approximately $538,000, and, as part of the package, intends to borrow an additional $6.9 million, making a total of some $7.4 million available.

“This ensures that we can properly plan, rather than react to, our city’s needs over time,” Council President Lee Perryman explained, adding that close coordination with the Sylacauga Utilities Board would be required in their own planned sewer, water, and electrical service maintenance and improvement projects.

According to Perryman, it is particularly important that the city have ready access to matching funds to pursue future grant opportunities. Most grants require municipalities to match a portion of project costs.

In the work session prior to the meeting, Perryman noted that the Council has paid increasing attention to controlling and reducing expenses, perhaps most notably exercising lower cost options with waste collection company WastePro. Budgets for the next fiscal year are now being prepared, and prior year audits were completed in June.

Although increasing retail sales taxes is often raised by others as a prospective source of new funding, the current council prefers to first find savings and other sources of revenue, allowing Sylacauga to maintain one of the area’s lowest sales tax rates which competitively benefits local businesses. Perryman believes raising sales taxes without first looking at every possible savings angle is irresponsible and unfair to taxpayers and retailers.

“This is a very important time for Sylacauga,” Perryman added. “We have tremendous opportunity, and I believe the council has found a way to begin funding some very important strategic projects without placing additional direct burdens on our citizens.”

In addition to infrastructure improvements, the council may also acquire capital assets, such as land, for future city use.

Jeremy Law for SylacaugaNews.com | © 2017, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.