The need for future road projects in Conway are running alongside the inability to pay for them, and the Conway City Council will be looking at several options in order to make the changes happen during a committee meeting at 5 :30 p.m. Tuesday at the District Court building. A regular scheduled council meeting will follow at 6:30 p.m.
With the Prince Street project completed, work is now focused on two stages of the Western Loop as well as the Elsinger Overpass, Oak to 6th Street and the Elsinger Overpass to Harkrider. With a chance to complete all of these projects by 2016 in order to satisfy the owners of the future Central Landing shopping center, the council will be looking at options to pay for the improvements, which could include new bonds or moving priority of the quarter-cent pay-as-you-go-tax to the Elsinger Overpass.
With one option, the bond proceeds would be used for the Elsinger Overpass with the other projects being financed for about five years. Another option provides $16 million in construction funds with a bond payoff date of 2044. According to the report given to the council, “the only viable options are Option 2, or the combination of Option 1 and 2. These are the only ones that do not result in a deficit of funding in the pay-as-you-go revenue in any given year from now until 2021.” A third option would rededicate and split the current 1/4 cent pay-as-you-go sales tax and issue bonds backed with a 1/8 cent sales tax will fund all projects associated with Central Landing,
along with an excess of funding of about $6 million. This option generates $24 million in construction money while the funds needed for Central Landing are about $18 million.
The estimated payoff date of the bonds is also year 2044, as it is with Option 2. However it will also eliminate the pay-as-you-go sales tax’s ability to fund ongoing major street
projects due to committing 50% of that revenue to the bonds. As early as year 2016, the funding will not meet debt service requirements for 5-year financing of the other major street projects.