May 5, 2009

Colchester Budget Bond Referendum








The time is approaching for Voters of Colchester to make some important decisions. One of those is whether or not to support the replacement of the Bacon Academy Track. One cannot open a newspaper without information being presented regarding this issue. Some is fact, but much is Myth. In talking with people, a dedicated group has learned there is much myth. Below is information to dispel these myths, with references to the facts and information direct from our town government.
Also below is helpful information about bonding issues. All this information has been passed about over the past few weeks via emails and flyers I am posting it here to help educate everyone on the process. Please take the time to go to the Colchester Web site and read the information available at the Board of Finance site. The link that I found very helpful is called “Joint Board of Selectman’s BOF BOE minutes 3/11/09 Webster bank presentation. There are many links pertaining to all the budget issues. Money is cheap to borrow right now with the way the economy is. Bidding on building projects is much more aggressive. I believe the time is now to Pass the Budget for the four Capital Expenditures the Fire Engine, Road Improvements, The Ambulance and the Reconstruction of the Track at Bacon Academy


Support The Track

Myth: The current track is built on wetlands
Fact: The Bacon Academy Track is not built on wetlands and is built on an appropriate site
Landscape Architect M.R. Roming completed a Track Study in November 2008:
They determined the site is suitable and made recommendations for proper drainage and construction of the new track
An annual 10% increase in costs for every year of delay for this project is estimated
Oil prices effect track construction projects
Over $17,000 has been spent on repairs since 2005
The full report is available at: http://www.colchesterct.gov/Pages/ColchesterCT_BComm/BOS/ColchesterCT_BOSMin/minutes031109.pdf Scroll to pages 36-43 for the full report

Myth: The track is too expensive right now; people can’t afford it
Fact: Colchester can’t afford to continue delaying capital improvements

Colchester current outstanding debt is decreasing
Mill rate analysis for all four bonding questions, per Webster Bank:

TOWN OF COLCHESTER; MILL RATE ANALYSIS OF PROPOSED DEBT SERVICE
Annual Cost to Property Owners for Assessed Values of…
FYE $ 100,000 $ 200,000 $ 300,000
2009
2010
2011 $ 27.97 $ 55.94 $ 83.91
2012 $ 23.43 $46.85 $ 70.28
ASSUMPUTIONS: 1) Net grand list will grow at 1.25% per year; 2) Bond issue will mature in 10 years and have a level principal structure; 3) 4% interest will be used on a 10 year bond; 4) Issue date of 8/15/09 5) Amount listed as proposed debt issue reflects total bond authorization for all four referendum questions including bond issuance costs
*Only a portion of the Webster Bank table is present due to space constraints

See the entire Webster Bank presentation including the bar graphs regarding Debt Outstanding in Colchester at: http://www.colchesterct.gov/Pages/ColchesterCT_BComm/BOF/ColchesterCT_FinanceMin/minutes031109.pdf page 15

Myth: Few people use the track
Fact: Many use the track, who?
Over 1,000 citizens in our town
100+ Track and Field Athletes
Hershey Track and Field as well as Special Olympic Athletes
Physical education students and Bacon Academy sports teams







Myth: The track isn’t in such bad shape
Fact: The track is closed for competition
Only small sections of the track are safe for practice
Athletes are being bused to other towns for some practices and all competitions

Colchester Bond Referendum


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is a bond?
A bond is a loan taken out by a government entity (in this case, the Town of Colchester) to pay for special projects.

What is our bond rating and why is that significant?
Colchester has seen improvements over the recent years in our bond rating from agencies such as Moody’s (A1 rating) and Fitch (A+ rating). This is important because better ratings make it easier to get loans at favorable interest rates.

Why is now the right time to bond for these expenditures?
The addition of this bond to our debt load will have a small impact. Colchester’s debt is projected to steadily decline annually. According to Webster Bank, this is a favorable time for Colchester to take on more debt service.

Where can I learn more about this?
For a presentation by Webster Bank to Colchester’s Board of Finance, please visit:
http://www.colchesterct.gov/Pages/ColchesterCT_BComm/BOF/ColchesterCT_FinanceMin/minutes031109.pdf
See page 15 to reference Current Debt Outstanding Bar Graphs.
Proposed Referendum Capital Expenditures

Fire Engine
The existing 27 year old Engine Tanker no longer meets standards for rollover protection of fire fighters and has been recommended for replacement for the past seven years.
Road Improvements
Road reconstruction for certain roads is necessary due to deterioration that is beyond normal maintenance.
Ambulance
The existing ambulance is constantly being repaired and cannot keep up with increasing needs. 1180 medical responses were made in 2008.
Reconstruction of Track at Bacon Academy
Reconstruction of the track is necessary due to its deteriorated condition, which has resulted in it being closed to competition.



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