McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

May 21, 2013

Expected $12 million for McAlester streets, road fund takes a dive

By James Beaty
Senior Editor

McALESTER — That $12 million in street improvements talked up by city officials if voters would pass a special sales tax proposition on May 14 has now taken a drastic drop — at least for now.

During a special meeting of the McAlester City Council held Tuesday night, one of the city’s bond finance advisers had some new numbers in store.

Jon Wolff, vice president of Municipal Finance Services in Edmond, told the city council he had reworked the numbers based on the city’s declining sales tax revenues.

City officials, including City Manager Pete Stasiak and Mayor Steve Harrison, had spoke a number times of  $12 million in street improvements if McAlester voters passed the measure.

Voters gave the proposition 704 “yes” votes in the May 14 election, while 114 voted “no.” The measure passing with a whooping 86 percent of the vote.

On Tuesday evening, Wolff told the council he had reworked the numbers, based on the declining sales tax revenue in the city.

He told the city not expect so much out of a refinancing package.

“Based on a decline is sales tax revenue over the past year, the revised financing is down to $9 million,” he said.

The actual  principal amount for refinancing the measure would actually be $8,890,000, he said.

When other amounts are taken out, such as the required debt service reserve fund, bond counsel and other costs, the amount available for the city and streets project fund would be $7,890,000, he said.

“In six-to-eight months, if it rebounds, we could look at refinancing it,”said Wolff, referring to the possibility of the city's sales tax revenues increasing in the future.

“Our intent was to have street projects funded from the sales tax and no other sources,” Wolff said.

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