A $37 million reconstruction plan proposed by mayor Jose “Joey” Torres’ administration that requires the city to borrow $35 million to reconstruct 170 primary roads was delayed from inclusion in the state’s local finance board’s agenda.
The Torres administration hoped to get the state’s blessings for the borrowing plan by mid-August, but that plan was delayed when the board asked for additional time to review the city’s plan.
The city wanted the board to tackle the borrowing plan on August 13th, 2014.
“Our application is being postponed to September 10th,” said business administrator Nellie Pou on Wednesday evening. “They wanted to have additional time to review the application.”
The delay will push the council’s borrowing ordinance vote further into the future. The city has scheduled a public hearing on the ordinance — which has passed first reading — for August 19th, 2014, but that hearing and second reading will be tabled for a later date, according to city officials.
“In the event they have a problem with the application [does] that pose a conflict for us?” asked Andre Sayegh, 6th Ward.
“I don’t anticipate there will be any problems,” answered Pou. “When we get to that time we’ll certainly be able to address that.”
Council president Julio Tavarez, 5th Ward, said if between now and September there’s major changes to the ordinance it will be taken off the agenda. “If there’s changes it’s going to be removed,” Tavarez told Pou.
The number of roads being reconstructed and the amount of money will not change, responded the business administrator.
The city will scrape together $1.75 million in down payment to borrow $35 million to repair all the city owned primary roads. The $36.75 road reconstruction plan will approximately cost the city $11.4 million in interest payments at a 2-percent rate, according to city officials.
Sayegh and Tavarez voted against the ordinance during its first reading portending a marginal vote ahead. Meanwhile, William McKoy, 3rd Ward, wants to discuss ways to leverage the funds to create local opportunities. McKoy has scheduled a presentation during the council’s next workshop meeting on September 9th, 2014 to share his ideas.
“As long as it’s the same we’re good,” said Tavarez.