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City hopes to start street repairs in about six months

COMMERCE - The City of Commerce will follow a tentative schedule through May of 2012 prior to breaking ground for street repairs after hearing from their financial advisory on Tuesday.

Jim Sabonis with First Southwest informed council that interest rates remain very low and selling the $3 million in general obligation bonds soon would be a cost effective approach. The bonds were approved by voters with the purpose of being used for street improvements in 2008.

Council also was brought up-to-speed on the city’s outstanding debt, which out of nine items totals $18.6 million. The city is expecting to take a major hit both in property tax rate and value upon the loss of Covidien within the next year. Sabonis stated that Commerce is currently valued at $274 million, but after Covidien closes will drop to around $212 million.

Councilman Richard Hill said Tuesday that the recent announcement that Greenville’s Rubbermaid Plant will also close will affect citizens county-wide. But Hill and Councilman John Sands agreed that that now is the best time sell the bonds, noting that putting aside thousands for street repairs over the last several years has barely made a dent in upkeep. Mayor Quay Throgmorton said the streets aren’t going to get any better the longer the process is put off.

The tentative schedule includes a January resolution to reimburse City for Project expenditures prior to bond funding. Bond ratings meetings will then be held in April, with the city to authorize the issuance of the bonds in May.

City Manager Marc Clayton hopes construction can begin in the second half of 2012.

The three year project first calls for improvements to Harlow Road. Portions of Monroe and Washington streets will also receive upgrades. Texas A&M University-Commerce is providing nearly $1 million for improvements to several streets bordering campus.