Villa Rica didn’t officially approve funding amounts for each project earmarked for the SPLOST if approved by voters, but if funding at the levels of the current SPLOST is received a preliminary funding list shows that $1.7 million of the $7.5 million the city could expect may go towards debt reduction.
Mayor J. Collins last month first suggested using SPLOST funds for debt reduction, an idea that was fully supported by the council. That proclamation led Temple officials to question City Attorney Cynthia Daley as to whether it was possible for the city to follow Villa Rica’s lead.
The Temple City Council approved the measure after it was determined by Daley that it was possible because the city borrowed about $8 million when building its sewer plant, using a combination of revenue bonds and general obligation bonds. Villa Rica borrowed $35 million in revenue bonds to build its sewer plant.
“There was a question asked as to whether or not it would be possible for us to add potentially dealing with some of the debt service of our sewer system on the (proposed) SPLOST and I went back to our general bond counsel,” Daley said. “We did issue revenue bonds, but the difference is we also did a pledge of GO bonds with that and by doing it that way he and I are of the opinion, as well as a number of counties and cities that are doing it that way, is that you can put it on your SPLOST list.”
In addition to debt reduction, Villa Rica approved a list of proposed project for the 2015 SPLOST that would include: water and sewer facilities and equipment; recreation facilities and equipment; public safety facilities and equipment; roads, streets, bridges and sidewalks; library facilities and equipment; and administrative facilities and equipment.
Unlike Villa Rica, Temple made no projection as to how much of the SPLOST proceeds would be used for debt reduction.
Daley explained that simply listing the debt reduction on the SPLOST list doesn’t necessarily mean it will be used for that purpose because the proposed SPLOST revenues wouldn’t kick in until 2015 if approved by voters next year, but if city officials found that they needed some of the proceeds for debt reduction it would have to be included in the initial SPLOST proposal.
“It just needs to be part of the categories,” Daley said.
Besides debt reduction, Temple has approved a designating the following general categories be earmarked for the 2015 SPLOST monies if the sales tax is approved by voters next year: roads, streets, bridges and sidewalks; water facilities and equipment; public works facilities and equipment; recreation facilities and equipment; economic development; public safety facilities and equipment; administrative facilities and equipment; sewer facilities and equipment; senior center facilities and equipment; land procurement; and greenspace acquisition.