By Ken Fountain
Taking advantage of city staff’s homework exploring favorable interest rates, the West University Place City Council voted unanimously Monday to issue $3.17 million in 2016 general obligation refunding bonds — resulting in a savings of nearly $200,000 to taxpayers..
The council voted to accept the bid of First National Bank Texas of a 1.4450 percent rate, the lowest among eight bids received by the city for the reissuance bonds. According to a presentation made to council, the current fixed rate of interest is 3.57 percent, and a bond buyer index of 25 municipal revenue bonds is 3.87 percent.
The total savings to the city derived from the First National bid are $191,971. The transaction close will be on Jan. 12, with the refunded amount going to the city the following day.
In the only other substantial business on Monday, resident Robert Grossman asked during the public comments portion that the council consider retaining former City Attorney James Dougherty, Jr. to represent the interests of residents near adjacent to the AT&T facility at Ruskin Street and Bellaire Boulevard in a January hearing before the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment.
Grossman said that AT&T is gearing up for a legal fight over an administrative order the city’s staff issued over disputes over what the company is permitted to do on the property in relation to the neighboring residents.
Current City Attorney Alan Petrov said that Dougherty, who served West University during earlier dealings with AT&T, had been consulted as an advisor during the drafting of the administrative order. Petrov said it would likely be against state law for the city to retain an attorney to represent the interests of individual homeowners, but it could retain an attorney to represent the city as a whole.
Councilman Brennan Reilly moved that the city place an item on the agenda of the Jan. 11 meeting for council to discuss the matter more fully. Reilly’s motion was seconded by Councilman Burt Ballanfant, which automatically places the item on the agenda.