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Council to consider $18 million infrastructure project

Posted: February 1, 2014 - 7:41pm

The Conway City Council has called a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday. Jack Bell, the city’s Chief of Staff, said that the possibility of seeking bonds to fund a planned $18 million street infrastructure project revealed in connection with October’s announcement that a developer had contracted to buy the Dennis F. Cantrell Field property and that a large-scale shopping center, to be called Central Landing, would be built there.

The Meeting will be held in City Hall’s downstairs conference room.

Mayor Tab Townsell has stressed that the new streets will not serve only the shopping center, but are consistent with a long-standing plan to develop greater east-west traffic capacity.

By seeking bonds, the city can essentially have access to “loans” of longer than five years. The city can seek five-year or shorter loans by vote of the council, but a public vote is required to issue longer-duration bonds — probably 10-year bonds in this case.

The tradeoff, Bell explained, is that the city pays and little more and pays it a little longer, but during this time the various sources of Street Department funding (which operates independently of the funding streams of the city’s General Fund) won’t be as tied up in debt service, giving the street department more flexibility in funding day-to-day operations and other projects.

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