Alva Review-Courier -

Swimming pool bond election set for Aug. 13

• GO bonds to be paid through ten year ad valorem tax


Marione Martin

Chris Gander of BOK Financial Securities explains the $2.5 million bond issue to the Alva City Council Tuesday. The council passed a resolution calling for the election on Aug. 13.

In a special meeting Tuesday, June 10, the Alva City Council approved a resolution calling for a $2.5 million bond issue election. That resolution, which contains the wording that will be on the ballot, is published in today's Alva Review-Courier as a legal notice.

Chris Gander, senior vice president and investment banker with BOK Financial Securities of Oklahoma City, spoke to the council about the proposed bond issue. This is a general obligation (GO) bond backed by ad valorem taxes on property inside the Alva city limits. Gander called this "a very equitable way" of paying for the swimming pool project. Those who can afford higher valued property will pay a proportionally higher tax.

Gander explained that a city can't do operational levies like a school or county. The rate of the mill levy will vary over the ten year period as the amount needed to service the debt goes down and the property values will be going up.

In the 2020 taxes, the city mill levy will only be for a small portion of the year so the annual rate is projected at 2.74. In 2021, the full year rate is projected to be 9.97, and it will drop each year following. (See the charts of city property taxes.)

A person owning real property valued at $100,000 is paying $773.96 in property taxes. If the bond election passes, that would increase to $878.67 in 2021 but decrease in following years. The figures assume no increases in the county and school mill levies.

Gander said if the bond election passes on Aug. 13, the council would need to approve a resolution authorizing the sale of bonds at their Aug. 19 meeting. It's projected the council would be able to award bids by Sept. 16, and the bond issue would be closed by Oct. 30.

Bond attorney Allen Brooks spoke briefly. He reminded the council these transactions are highly regulated by the state. Unlike in school bond elections, the pass rate for this election is a simple majority of 50 percent plus one vote.

Two visitors attended the meeting, but Mayor Kelly Parker explained this was not a public hearing and the agenda did not allow for comments and questions. He said after the meeting adjourned, they were welcome to ask him or a council member questions.

Parker said comments during a public hearing and in surveys indicated people wanted to keep the façade of the pool building and the gazebo by the pool. "There's not been as much of a connection to the actual pool itself," he said. The drawing posted at the meeting (and accompanying this article) is an initial rendering of what they expect to bid out.

He explained the timing is planned so by the time the pool closes in September, the council will be able to bid out the project provided the bond issue passes. Although the timing is tight, it's expected the pool would be finished by the usual opening date in May next year.

If the bond issues fails, there will be delays as the council looks for other ways to fund the swimming pool project.

Plans call for demolishing the current swimming pool which has sunk on one end. The pool also has water circulation issues and is cracking and leaking. Parker said the cost of keeping and fixing the current swimming pool is about the same as demolishing it and building a somewhat smaller pool. The council believes the smaller pool is sufficient for the current number of people who use the pool. Also, a new smaller pool will be more efficient and easier to maintain.

The drawing shows some new shade structures around the pool. The water slide currently in place is not considered safe, so it will have to be removed and another put in place. The plan also includes a low diving board and a play structure in the shallow end as well as a kiddie pool.

Council member Brandon Sherman asked if the $2.5 million will be enough for the project. City Business Manager Joe Don Dunham said if bids come in too high, some of these additions will have to be removed from the initial construction with grants and donations sought later to add them. Bids would be set up as line items so parts can be removed to bring the construction cost within budget.

Dunham said the timeline allows for opening the pool at the normal time next year, but contractors have told him they will need every bit of that time to get the pool finished.

In addition to Sherman, council members present were Daniel Winters, Connor Martin, Chris Eckhart, Mary Hamilton, Randy Stelling and Brian Wallis. Bo Hannaford was absent. All council members present voted to approve the resolution calling for the bond election on Aug. 13.

Other Business

This drawing shows the new smaller swimming pool planned by the City of Alva. Some features may be removed if bids come in higher than expected.

A public hearing was held on the city budgets for the next fiscal year beginning July 1. No members of the public were present for the meeting. The two visitors left after the council approved the bond issue resolution. The council will vote on the budgets at their regular meeting on Monday, June17.

A special meeting of the Alva Utility Authority followed council adjournment. Council members approved the low bid of $79,693 by Slattery Construction of Woodward for work on a sewer lift station on Skyline Drive. The bid is $19,867 less than the amount budgeted for the project.

The retrofit construction will include replacement of the cover and top of the lift station, new slide rails, new lift station discharge piping and valves, a new duplex check valve box, a new duplex pumping system with elbow, control panel alarm slide rail integration and hoist, and the integrated electrical system for the project.


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