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Bonds issued for Galesburg community center; engineering agreement delayed

Jane Carlson
Tri States Public Radio

The city of Galesburg has issued $5 million in general obligation bonds to help fund a new community center.

A resolution to authorize the city to issue the bonds was approved on a 4-3 vote by the city council in January, with council members Bradley Hix, Wayne Dennis, and Larry Cox voting against and Kevin Wallace, Dwight White, Jaclyn Smith-Esters, and Sarah Davis voting in favor.

Then the city moved forward with establishing a credit rating and other steps in the process to issue the bonds.

The city will begin paying them off next year, using funds from a.25% increase to the home rule sales tax approved by the council on a 4-3 vote last year.

The city had 29 bids and secured an interest rate of 3.3211% for the 10-year bond issuance.

“Given the current economic climate, this is an exceptional interest rate which was secured for bond financing,” said City Manager Gerald Smith. “The competitive rates received illustrate that Galesburg’s outlook and positive financial position were attractive for such an investment in our community.”

The council was set to vote on a $76,000 engineering agreement with Farnsworth Group for programming and schematic design of the community center in the former Churchill Junior High.

But Ward Seven council member Larry Cox said that item was taken off the agenda, and then put back on.

“Due to the confusion, I think at this time it would be good to table this item, because there are many people that wanted to speak about this item that I know, and they are not here, and didn’t send information to us about their questions about this, so I would ask that this item be tabled,” Cox said.

A motion to table the agreement until May passed with four votes, including Hix, Dennis, Wallace, and Cox.

That means it won’t be considered again until after the April 4 election, when a new council is seated.

Odd-numbered wards are up for election this year, with all four incumbents running and all facing challengers.

City leaders had hoped construction could being as early as September, but tabling the engineering agreement could cause delays.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Jane Carlson is TSPR's regional reporter.