At Thursday’s meeting, the Sierra Vista City Council celebrated the early repayment of bond debt tied to many of the public facilities and amenities our community has been able to benefit from over the past two decades.
The bonds were originally issued in 2000 and 2008, before being refinanced together in 2017. They amounted to more than $38 million and paid for key projects including Fire Station 3 and the tower 3 fire engine, the Nancy J. Brua Animal Care Center, Cyr Center Park, The Cove, the Pedro Castro Maintenance Center, a police station expansion, a parks maintenance building, and the Centennial Pavilion.
These projects provided needed public safety improvements and quality of life amenities. City Manager Chuck Potucek noted that by paying this debt off about a year and a half early the City positions itself well to address future needs.
“What that will do on behalf of the community is free up over a million dollars a year that’s been going toward that debt service,” Potucek said. “That will certainly help use with projects such as our parks plan, the payments we have to make toward the public safety retirement system, as well as our street maintenance. A lot of good is going to come out of this in the future and it’s nice to have more budget flexibility as a result.”
Holding a copy on the initial bond statement, Mayor Rick Mueller credited the City management team, as well as current and past city councils, for their prudent financial management that has put the City in a favorable position today.
“When you talk about this much money paid off early, it has a great impact on a City whose average budget for the last years has been just a little over 80 million,” Mueller said, shortly before tearing the ceremonial document to a round of applause.
“That’s a big deal. At one point we had $44 million of debt in the City and now we’re down to just a couple,” Mueller said. “And that’s over a period where we were going through a recession.”
Grant will help fund major park and sports facility improvements
The City Council accepted a $1.5 million grant for improvements at Veterans Memorial Park and the adjacent Veterans Memorial Park Sports Complex. The grant was awarded by Arizona State Parks & Trails, with funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The grant will go toward improvements that will help conserve water, provide additional public park area, and reduce ongoing maintenance costs. The improvements include:
- Installing artificial turf at the sports complex football field
- Reconfiguring the sports complex soccer field and installing drainage improvements
- Updating the Veterans Memorial Park wellsite with a storage tank, booster station, and necessary electrical components
- Replacing the irrigation system at the sports complex
The total estimated project cost is $3,090,000, including a City match of $1.5 million and grant-required surcharge of $90,000 also paid for by the City.
In other business:
- The City Council approved an easement for Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative to place electrical lines needed to power the new emergency medical services substation being constructed at the corner of Buffalo Soldier Trail and 7th Street.
- The City Council approved amendments to Chapter 30 of the City Code of Ordinances, which governs the council. The amendments update the code language to reflect current technology and practices.
- The City Council approved the reappointment of John Moreno to the Parks and Recreation Commission, said term to expire Dec. 31, 2023.
- Mayor Rick Mueller proclaimed Jan. 17, 2022 as Martin Luther King Jr. Day in and for the City of Sierra Vista.
Details on the council meeting items are available in the supporting documents for the Thursday, Jan. 13, City Council meeting. They can be accessed via the “City Council” folder on the City’s document server at docserve.sierravistaaz.gov/.
City Council meetings can be streamed live and past meetings can be viewed on YouTube. The meetings are also aired on Cox Channel 12. Learn more at www.sierravistaaz.gov/your-government/mayor-council/council-meetings/ or in the “Council HQ” page at engage.sierravistaaz.gov.