Selectmen OK intent to issue GO bonds up to $2.5M, approve 1% tax

By: 
MADELINE BURDINE
Daily Times Leader

The West Point Board of Selectmen at its meeting Tuesday night approved the intention to issue general obligation (GO) bonds not to exceed $2.5 million to be used for street repairs and other related purposes within the city.

City officials claim they would be able to issue this without raising any taxes.

Mayor Robbie Robinson asked Butler Snow LLP representative Troy Johnston to further explain the posture this intention would put the city in.

“This is the first step in the process to issue general obligation bonds,” Johnston said. “Y’all have a bond rolling off the books in December. This will take 60 to 90 days to actually issue a bond.”

Johnston explained the role the community has the opportunity to play in this decision.

“With this resolution to start the process, you will publish it in the paper,” Johnston said. “It gives the citizens the opportunity to file a petition asking to have an election on the decision whether to issue the bonds. If 1,500 or 10% of qualified electors sign a petition, then you actually have to have the election. Otherwise, you move forward with the bond issue, and you can issue bonds anytime within two years after you declare there to be no protests filed.”

The no protest date for this issue has been set for Dec. 10.

Johnston said general obligation bonds can go up to 20 years but that Robinson and the board have discussed going around 15 years with these bonds.

“This doesn’t lock you into actually issuing bonds,” Johnston said. “It just declares your intention to do that.”

Ward 4 Selectman Keith McBrayer added clarity following Johnston’s explanation.

“This also does not lock us into $2.5 million.” McBrayer said. “The total package could be less.”

Robinson said the newspaper publication dates will be Nov. 15, 22, and 29. A vote on the issue will be taken at the next meeting on Dec. 10.

HOTEL/MOTEL RESTAURANT TAX

The board approved the request to Mississippi Legislature to renew the 1% Hotel/Motel Restaurant Tax for tourism for the West Point/Clay County Growth Alliance. Due to legislature renewing every four years, the current tax expires July 2020.

Ward 3 Selectman Ken Poole reopened an earlier discussion for tourism tax revenue to be spent not just at the Sportsplex, but at all parks and recreation facilities within the city.

Poole suggested taking this change to the legislature simultaneously with tourism tax renewal.

Robinson asked to handle that issue cautiously. Poole was asked to meet with the mayor to discuss the issue prior to the December meeting.

A separate resolution for inclusion of all parks and recreation facilities to be under the umbrella of tourism tax will be voted on at the meeting on Dec. 10.

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