Snellville OKs research into borrowing money

SNELLVILLE - Snellville City Council members voted Monday to give City Manager Russell Treadway the go-ahead to pursue negotiations and further fact-finding regarding borrowing millions of dollars from 2009 SPLOST funds yet to be collected.

The reasoning behind possibly borrowing the money is that Snellville identified construction of a new police station as its top priority with regard to spending the funds. The second priority is the purchase of land for a park at Baker's Rock in Snellville, and the third priority is construction of a new public works facility.

Construction costs are currently about 15 to 20 percent lower than they were two years ago, and Councilman Tod Warner said the savings in construction costs alone will offset any interest the residents will pay to borrow the money. Treadway expects the interest rate to be 4 percent or lower.

The city manager will present proposals to Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer and council for going ahead with the public safety facility, the park and the public works building separately, as well as a proposal for commencing all three projects on borrowed money.

Monday's action gives Treadway consent to negotiate and research the idea of borrowing but not to actually secure financing. That move can only be made with mayor and council approval. The total amount officials are considering borrowing is about $8.4 million.

Stormwater utility fee

Council members also voted to establish a stormwater utility fee of $3.10 per housing unit. Residents, businesses, churches and schools will pay the fee based on the amount of impervious surface on the property on which they reside.

The fee will be billed by the Gwinnett County tax commissioner and will appear on property tax bills. The accompanying credit manual, which outlines the procedure by which property owners may obtain credits and thereby decrease the fee owed, was also approved by vote Monday night.

Kautz did not vote to approve the fee or the credit manual. In her opinion, the city is taking a shot in the dark as to whether the $3.10 is too much or too little to collect for infrastructure improvements and maintenance, as next year's budget has not yet been finalized.