It’s been a pretty interesting week already in local politics and it’s only Tuesday. I had a private meeting with Mayor Franklin yesterday at which he told me that he plans to table most of the 7 pending bond issue pieces of legislation, including the one authorizing $10.5 million for a new one-stop building. He confirmed this later in the day at a 3rd Ward open meeting hosted by Councilmen John Brown and Greg Bartholomew.
The Mayor plans to take additional time to examine a broader set of options for the city’s building problems and the overall budget for street repairs. He says he is looking into several options for adapting existing buildings to the city’s needs rather than building new, but does not want to say more at this time as negotiations continue.
The two pieces of the bond he intends to proceed with immediately (tomorrow night at Council) authorize refinancing of two existing city bonds at lower interest rates. Auditor Dave Griffing (who was also at the meeting) says the refinancing will save the city more than $2 million in interest payments over the next 25 years.
About 35 people attended Mr. Brown’s meeting. They were very vocal, but respectful and polite, to their opposition to the building in particular, and to the additional debt in general. Their major objection seemed to be that they want more details about the impact the debt will have on the overall condition of city finances and more time to consider them.
City Council meets tomorrow evening at 7:30 when the process will continue.