City Council takes up pair of hearings at meeting

Friday, September 9, 2022

LE MARS — The Le Mars City Council made quick work of two public hearings at its Sept. 6 meeting. No one from the public came forward to comment on either topic.

The first hearing was to receive comments on amending Chapter 160, “Floodplain Management,” of the Le Mars Code of Ordinances. The changes in the 19-page document are updated references since the document was first passed in 1978.

FEMA and the IDNR have completed the process of updating flood hazard determinations for Plymouth County which includes the City of Le Mars Corporate Limits. The Flood Insurance Study (FIS) and Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) become effective on Oct. 27, 2022.

The City of Le Mars is required to update the ordinance to reflect adoption of the FIS report and FIRM by the effective date.

Council members had no comments on the ordinance amendments and unanimously approved the first reading of Ordinance No. 974 to amend the Le Mars Code of Ordinances - Chapter 160, “Floodplain Management.”

In a second hearing, the council sought comments regarding the financing of the Wastewater Improvements - 2022 Ultraviolet Disinfection project.

The city seeks to use Sewer Revenue Bonds in an amount not to exceed $7,400,000 to fund the project.

The council received information from D.A. Davidson & Col., the city’s bond underwriter, regarding the proposal.

According to city officials, the bonds are to be repaid from sewer revenues over a 20-year period.

There were no comments from the public during the hearing.

City administration recommended approval of the Sewer Revenue Loan agreement necessary authorization.

Mayor Rob Bixenman noted the city is not issuing bonds for the full $7,400,000, but only $5,640,000.

City Finance Director Jacob Widman explained the city will do two issues of bonds.

“The reason for two issues is to get a better tax rating and as a city, we can only go up to $10 million in issue each year,” he said. “The hospital issued some bonds earlier this year, so we are using the rest of this year’s issue. We will likely issue the remaining bonds next year.”

Council member Clark Goodchild asked Widman if he was OK with the plan, and Widman said he was.

“My only concern is knowing what we have on the radar in the future coupled with this, how the whole picture turns out,” Goodchild said.

Widman said getting locked into some good interest rates is a good idea as rates creep up a bit.

Goodchild also asked about sewer rates in the future and was told those will be reviewed.

“For this issue, we have enough,” Widman said.

The council then gave its approval to taking additional action on a proposal to enter into a Sewer Revenue Loan Agreement and authorizing the use of a Preliminary Official Statement for the sale of Bonds.

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