The Jasper City Council held a called meeting to hire a new city clerk and finance director, discuss possible budget amendments, loans and legal services. Jasper’s fiscal year runs from January to December, with budget planning primarily taking place in the fall. Shortly after reconvening from executive session, the council hired Beverly Ragland as the new city clerk and director of finance.
Discussion of 2020 Budget Amendments
One issue discussed was budget amendments due to the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
“We thought we should bring forward a mid-term packet since we’ve had a downturn in revenue,” said Brandon Douglas, city administrator. He said there was nothing to vote only information to keep in mind for next months regular meeting.
“We are projected about $189,000 decline in revenue,” he said. “We won’t know until the end of the year but we want to prepare.”
See the 2020 budget here.
He added that some unforeseen, but necessary purchases included new fire gear for the fire department, which the council approved earlier this month and there were also some legal fees and services the city needed to pay for. New workstations for customer service in the water department were also needed.
“Some of those computers were the green screen type and won’t support the software,” said Douglass, adding the computers were so old, that they wouldn’t support Microsoft Windows.
Councilmember Jim Looney agreed and added they may have to look at other budget amendments.
“It’s strange times,” he said.
Discussion of Debt/Bond Refunding (GEFAloans)
Douglas asked the council to look at their options with their Georgia Environmental Finance Authority or GEFA loan and consider their options. The first option is to do nothing and leave the loan alone. The payments would remain the same and in 2035, the total amount paid would be $5,062,567.
The second option would be to refinance only for the amount owed. Payments would remain the same but the total amount paid in 2035 would be $4,987,609, netting a $74,958 savings. Both options have declining payments.
The third option would be to refinance and take money out for capital outlay. The payments would remain level and the total paid back in 2035 would be $5,744,437, an increase of $681,870 over option one and $756,828 over option two.
Douglas presented the information for the board to consider heading into their meeting on July 13.
Consideration and Approval of seven GEFA Deferral Modification(s) Promissory Notes
City Attorney David Syfan told the city council that GEFA has allowed a six-month deferment on current loans due to communities being uncertain about their budget. The city has seven loans through GEFA for water and sewage. The deferment means no interest and no payments for six months.
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The city council approved the motion to sign the paper to take advantage of the deferment.
Consideration and Approval of Legal Services Agreement – Bond Counsel and City Attorney
Syfan also asked the council to consider hiring a bond council for refunding five of the GEFA laons in order to meet legal requirements. The motion supported two legal service agreements to accomplish that and was approved.
The board also approved Resolution No. 2020-03 as it pertains to the reimbursement of the city in regards to the capital expenditures with design, construction, and installation of the Waste Water Treatment Plant expansion and improvements with the USDA Loan/Grant.
Consideration and Approval of Resolution No. 2020-03 as it pertains to the reimbursement of the City of Jasper in regards to the capital expenditures with the design, construction, and installation of the Waste Water Treatment Plant expansion and related improvements with the USDALoan/Grant.