Bond Referendum Public Information Meetings Planned for Roswell

The first meeting takes place mid-September.

On Nov. 6, Roswell voters will be asked to decide on a $14.7 million bond referendum for capital projects throughout the city. In an effort to educate voters on the bond referendum and projects, the city has scheduled several public information meetings at various locations throughout Roswell.

Meeting dates, times and locations include:

  • - Sept. 18 at 2 p.m.-4 p.m.
  • - Sept. 27 at 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m.
  • - Oct. 1  at 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m.
  • - Oct. 11 at 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m.

After a brief presentation, residents will have the opportunity to discuss project details with city staff. The project list includes:

  • Holcomb Bridge/400 Interchange improvements - $6 million
  • A replacement of Fire Station # 4 - $1.5 million
  • Eves Road multi-use path and bike lanes - $1.2 million
  • Holcomb Bridge Road multi-use trail (segment 4) - $1.5 million
  • Adult Recreation Center upgrades including a therapeutic pool - $2.5 million
  • Synthetic turf fields (4 fields) - $2 million

Visit the city's website for more information on the Bond Referendum.

Lee Fleck August 29, 2012 at 01:31 AM
As for the Recreation Departments line items noted above, the synthetic turf is an effort by the city to transition daily operational costs to a bond. During bond hearings last Spring, Mr. Glover, the Director of the Roswell Recreation & Parks Department, stated that by installing the synthetic turf field, the Parks Department could save as much as $300,000 annually (not having to maintain natural grass fields). However, the life expectancy of the synthetic turf is only 10 years. Divide the cost of the field(s) by 10 years and the annual savings evaporates and the upkeep following installation becomes an operational expense forever to be absorbed in day to day operational costs. Mr Glover could not even guarantee a break even. The Senior Center pool will result in a double barrel approach to this bond, again passing operational expenses (OpEx) on to the general fund for all the property owners to absorb. In February, Mr. Glover threw around the pool operational figures of $200,000 annually (a grossly conservative estimate ). Think of this, at $5 per visit that equates to a need of 40,000 swimmer visits per year to cover expenses. That will not happen! Finally the pool would be used by a very limited portion of the city population , yet all property owners will have to pay for the upkeep. I encourage the public to investigate the truth during these hearings. What is this bond really about? Go to http://roswell.patch.com/blog_posts/roswells-tax-increase
Lee Fleck August 29, 2012 at 05:15 PM
These meetings are suspect and might well result in legal action against the city. Municipalities cannot legally promote a bond !
City of Roswell, GA August 29, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Several of Mr. Fleck’s facts and figures in regards to the bond referendum projects are incorrect. Recreation and Parks Director Joe Glover did not say the City would save $300,000 annually by installing synthetic turf fields. He did say the City would save approximately $35,000 per year for each field if synthetic fields were installed. If voters approve the bonds and the City installs four synthetic turf fields, the savings would be $140,000 per year. These savings will come from not having to maintain, fertilize, sod, or water the grass fields. In addition, the City anticipates bringing in additional revenue by hosting regional athletic tournaments and increasing the number of leagues the fields can support. The City anticipates the maintenance savings and additional revenue over the life of the fields will pay to replace them at the end of their useful life. As for the Adult Recreation Center Therapeutic Pool, the City has estimated a $200,000 operating cost. However, Recreation and Parks also anticipates a revenue stream to offset operational costs from open swim, aquatic and therapeutic classes, as well as rehabilitation programs with local health providers. Finally, Mr. Fleck is correct in that municipalities cannot promote a bond. However municipalities can inform and educate the public about the bonds and the projects associated with them. That is what the City of Roswell is doing by holding public information meetings.
Lee Fleck August 29, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Sounds like someone is illegally promoting this bond in violation of state law. I would appreciate whomever is hiding behind the "City of Roswell, Ga" title to identify themself so they can be included in any legal actions. I was the individual who asked the questions of Mr Glover so I know his response.
The Asker August 29, 2012 at 09:53 PM
It would be refreshing if we could actually get anyone from the city to go "on the record". City of Roswell: Are you representing the numbers you attribute to Mr. Glover as factual, and are you further representing that these figures are attributable to city council, and if so, whom? C’mon – one of them must be willing to put his or her name to this, right? The lengths our representatives go to stay off the record is astounding, especially when they attempt to buy votes with projects for selected interest groups, as this bond appears to do. We’re left to conclude that staff is running the house I guess. And great timing of course, with Patch recently reporting higher unemployment here in town. Does this really sound like the best time to bond out while increasing the city’s operating expense? One of the issues with this bond issue is the lack of trust in light of the overtaxing on previous bonds, so it might be worthwhile in promoting the bond to have actual numbers on the record from council for various projects.
The Asker August 29, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Hosting sounds great for athletic fields - have any contracts or just hopes? Based on what you say, City, if operating revenues will cover much of the project - so why not limit the exposure of the taxpayer and actually go on the record with your anticipated revenues? Oh, and since the city is clearly shifting capital expense to operating expense (as you say), will you go on the record and identify how many city employees will be subject to finding new positions when all of the mowing, watering, etc. disappears? I don’t think anyone has seen that part yet. Assuming that your numbers for the pool are close to correct, will you agree that at $5.00 per entry, the city needs nearly 110 people every day to pay up and use the pool? ($200k/$5.00 per head/365 days a year) Instead of some nebulous offsets, how about going on the record with your number of anticipated users, and best guess at revenue? (And how you will make up the difference, year after year? Better yet, give multiple examples where the general citizenry didn’t pick up the tab, please) It is hard to imagine our seniors, who this is clearly meant to woo, ruining their freshly coiffed hair to keep up your operating expenses, don't you think, when 110 a day are needed to break even. Seriously City, do you really believe those figures work out to cover operating expense, because there are quite a few folks who can do the simple math who probably would disagree with you.
Lee Fleck August 30, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Back in February when the initial bond meetings were held the proposal was for 18 synthetic fields with a total investment of $12 million ($4 million in 2012 & $8 million in 2015). Mr Glover's projected savings then were as I noted. The bond referendum in November is for $2.5 million for 4 synthetic turf fields. The life expectance for these fields is still 10 years. That has not changed. Please allow me to help the City of Roswell, GA with their calculations because they prove my point. Simply divide $2.5 million by 10 years and the annual cost of these synthetic fields is $250,000 which exceeds the $140,000 they project above as annual savings. It’s a losing proposition. And we already have tournaments on the natural grass fields.
City of Roswell, GA August 30, 2012 at 12:57 PM
All City of Roswell comments on Patch are posted by Julie Brechbill, the Community Relations Manager for the City. I post as the City of Roswell, GA so Patch readers will know that the comments are officially from the City.
City of Roswell, GA August 30, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Mr. Fleck, the bond referendum is $2 million for up to four synthetic turf fields not $2.5 million as you have stated.
Lee Fleck August 30, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Julie, Thank you for correcting me. $2.0 million for turf fields so the annualized cost is $200,000 and annual savings is $140,000.
Lee Fleck September 01, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Since Mrs. Brechbill has exposed herself…………………………. Let us have those feeding her numbers explain the fact that the City of Roswell currently has $ 25,349,303.00 in EXCESS taxpayer’s monies sitting in the bank. This number can be easily found on the city web page at http://www.roswellgov.com/index.aspx?NID=1546 Clicking on “All Funds Summary” and then scroll down to page 37. This number is third from the bottom on the right and it is formally identified as “Fund Balance over the Reserves by Policy”. Basically it is extra taxpayer’s monies sitting in the bank that has not been allocated for expense. In the General Fund alone there is $7.5 million extra cash; in the solid Waste Fund there is nearly $7 million in extra cash the result of over-charging citizens (& business) for trash pickup. The excess monies in these two funds alone equal the proposed bond amount. So why the need for a $14.7 million bond when the City is sitting on $25 million?
Concerned Resident September 18, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Julie, nitpicking Mr. Flecks figures hasn't changed the fact that the proposal costs more then the proposed savings. Can you address that? I'm a soccer player. I use the grass fields at East Roswell Park every Sunday. Anybody who actually uses the field knows that artificial turf is the worst surface to play on and has actually been proven to be the source of many additional injuries. So if artificial turf is worse for the players and costs the city more money then why in the world would anybody choose that. We are also overlooking the fact that the natural grass maintenance expense they are looking to eliminate means getting rid of one or more grounds keeping personnel. So they are proposing that instead of paying a local person a salary for doing this job they would rather send all the money to some remote corporation to provide the artificial turf.
Concerned Resident September 18, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Are the scheduled meetings just presentations or are they actual meetings where we will be able to voice our concerns and have some discussion with the officials in charge?
Lee Fleck September 18, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Concerned Resident, I suggest that you come to anyone of the forthcoming meetings and ask those questions. Personally, having been a soccer official for nearly 20 years I am well aware of your concerns with regard to injuries but IMHO more so with regard to young athletes where there is suficient medical evidence the shows injuries to developing joints can have long-term negative consequences with youth. Schedule of meetings can be found at: http://www.roswellgov.com/index.aspx?NID=1376
Lee Fleck September 18, 2012 at 05:16 PM
They should be informational in nature and you can ask anything you wish and you should get an answer to your questions about any of the bond line items.
Lee Fleck September 19, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Roswell’s Bond project list is meaningless! The public needs to know that the bond referendum is intentionally worded in such a manner that would allow City Government the flexibility to move money around from transportation to recreation to public safety, at the discretion of Council because the bond is being presented as one issue for $14.7 million. This was confirmed during the August 13th Council meeting when Mayor Wood asked David Davidson, the city's Legal Counsel “You could move money from Recreation to Transportation” because the entire $14.7 million is being presented “as one category” and he agreed. Property owners all previous bond referendums presented to Roswell citizens had always specified a given amount for a specific project. The way this bond referendum is worded it is a blank check. The interest on that bond over the 15 year term of that bond according to Roswell Budget Director, Keith Lee could cost property owners nearly $ 9 million dollars in interest, as presented the evening they voted to place the bond referendum on this November’s ballot: Year 1 bond issue: $10,000,000 with fifteen year term: $1,087,050 annually Year 2 bond issue: $4,700,000 with fifteen year term: $520,656 annually At the conclusion of this fiscal year the City will have an excess of $7.5 million in the General Fund and when the debt is paid off the city will capture $6.3 million annually when they move debt service into day to day operations.
Lee Fleck September 19, 2012 at 01:55 AM
East Roswell’s floating Fire station #4 Roswell has the $$$ but no place for the fire station that is part of the November bond referendum. Hum? Two years ago the Roswell City Council approved $2.3 million for a new fire station in East Roswell and now they want property owners to approve a bond that includes $1.5 million to cover the projected $3.6 million construction cost to build a new station #4 - but – guess what? They haven’t decided on a place to put it. You can expect a mad scramble between now and the November election for the city to purchase property and advice property owners that a new fire & rescue station with accompanying lights & sirens is in moving in next door. Without a physical location there is absolutely no logical reason for the public to approve this bond. Meanwhile the City will be sitting on $7.5 million in cash monies in the bank at fiscal years end. They have all the money they need to buy property & build a fire station without this bond. So citizens when you hear the City suddenly has a place to put the new fire station #4 you might want to ask the city where they got the money?
Concerned Resident September 19, 2012 at 10:49 AM
So you are telling us that while the city has millions citing in the bank they want to do these bonds issues at the astronomical annualized interest rate of over 10%? Why can't we use the money in the bank? And if that is not an option, is the city not creditworthy enough to get a better rate?
Lee Fleck September 19, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Concerned Resident, With regard to your question. There appears to be a significant difference between the terms of the loan as it was presented by the Finance Director to the City Council when the Council voted for the bond referendum and what is currently being stated in public by city officials. Hopefully the City's PR rep will come forward and explain why the documents presented on Aug 13 Council meeting stated that the terms of the bond referendum were for 15 years and the fact that they are now saying the terms are for only 10 years. In either case the city will have sufficient funds to cover every line item on the project list on the bond referendum when they roll over the $6.3 million annual debt service in to the General Fund. So yes, we can "pay as we go". We will have to wait for Julie's response on the terms.
City of Roswell, GA September 19, 2012 at 07:33 PM
The City will not be paying $9 million in interest on these bonds if approved by voters. Originally the City was considering up to a 15 year term for the bonds; however, as the city continued to work with our financial advisors, the term of the bonds became 10 years. Mr. Fleck’s $9 million interest figure is incorrect. The total interest and fees paid for the $14.7 million is $1,650,000. The estimated annual debt service (payments on the bonds) is $1,630,000 for the 10 year term. The true interest cost for the city is expected to be below 2 %. Most municipalities across the country that issue bonds do so with a 30 year term. However, the City of Roswell has been always been financially conservative and will issue our bonds if approved for 10 year terms. The City is afforded this opportunity as a result of its AAA bond rating which also allows access to historically low interest rates. Mr. Fleck writes “the City’s bond referendum is intentionally worded in such a manner…to move money around from Transportation to Recreation to Public Safety.” However, the City has provided a list of projects that will be completed using bond funds and they include: • Holcomb Bridge/400 Interchange improvements: $6M • Replacement of Fire Station #4: $1.5M • Eves Road multi-use path and bike lanes: $1.2M • Holcomb Bridge Road multi-use trail: $1.5M • Adult Recreation Center upgrades with therapeutic pool: $2.5M • Synthetic turf fields (4): $2M (Continued)
City of Roswell, GA September 19, 2012 at 07:34 PM
These projects make up the $14.7 million and should the city see cost savings on the projects then the remaining funds could be used for other projects in Transportation, Recreation & Parks, and Public Safety. Mr. Fleck’s opinion is that the City should use a pay-as-you-go program to fund capital needs in the City. If the City chose a “pay-as-you-go” program it would cost the City more money in the long run because construction prices continue to rise with inflation. Also if the City chose to “pay-as-you-go” it would take multiple years to save the money to pay for the projects. The City has a need for capital investment in our community. By incurring debt to complete this small list of projects, the City is taking advantage of the time value of money, which means the interest on the money we are borrowing is cheaper than the inflation on the cost of construction to build the projects. In addition, the City has more capital needs than the six projects that would be funded with this bond referendum. So the General Fund reserves (savings) the city has are not sufficient to pay for ALL of the City’s capital needs. In addition to the $14.7 million in projects supported by the bond referendum, the City’s 5 year capital improvement plan for its general fund is $26 million. It is clear the proposed bond projects and the General Fund Capital Improvement Plan exceed the current reserves (savings) of $7.5 million. Julie Brechbill, CR Manager & Keith Lee Finance Dir.
Lee Fleck September 20, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Ah, it‘s always a pleasure watching the City Government refuse to admit the truth or that they are wrong. The following link is the specific document that the Roswell Finance Director, Keith Lee presented to Roswell City Council immediately preceding their vote to approve the budget. https://docs.google.com/document/d/17dwKtMqUf0xnzv_cZWExQR2lSWEirLl9GnSee8zi3z4/edit And it specifically stated the terms of the bond to be for a period of 15 years at a cost of $1.6 million annually. It is simple math after that. I find it perfectly acceptable to challenge the City Government when such inaccurate documents exist. Especially when documents such as this were the foundation for the Council’s approval of the bond on August 13. But it is nice for the city to finally come forward with the precise costs of the bond referendum. More to come about the wording of the referendum.
Lee Fleck September 20, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Keith, It’s always nice to discuss city financial matters with you, but why no mention about the fact the administration has no intentions of eliminating the debt service income when the city is debt free as the Mayor was quoted saying in the Nov 10, 2011 edition of the Roswell Neighbor, specifically “In 2014 we would be debt-free if we do not incur new debt and we could reduce our millage rate by 1.5 to 4 mills, which is a substantial decrease”. Your comments during the August 13 Council meeting make it abundantly clear that the intentions are NOT to reduce the total millage rate but keep collecting property owners monies to the tune of an additional $6.3 million annually in the General Fund. Rolling over debt money into day to day operations so the City Government to spend as it did with the $32 million in excess reserves for the last four years. See our comments in the link to Aug 13 council minutes at: https://docs.google.com/document/d/15NW-0J0sjKoNTJRvQ3_iEbAI8Sk8UJadFTFcglKZRo8/edit And please tell me when is a representative of City Government going to come out and admit that the city will be advertising a property tax increase each June for the next two years which is a requirement by state law when the city rolls over any or all of that $6.3 million into the General Fund. The Mayor has refused to answer that question, how about you or Ms. Brechhill? Please speak up !
Lee Fleck September 20, 2012 at 01:36 AM
The bond referendum is worded such that it allows City Government the flexibility to move money around and spend it at the discretion of Council on a plethora of options. This bond referendum is a blank check. It’s easy to read it: SHALL GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS IN THE AGGREGATE AMOUNT OF $14,700,000.00 BE ISSUED BY THE CITY OF ROSWELL, GEORGIA TO FINANCE THE COST OF ACQUISITION, DESIGN AND/OR DEVELOPMENT OF REAL AND/OR PERSONAL PROPERTY FOR TRANSPORTATION AND PUBLIC WORKS INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENT PURPOSES INCLUDING TRAFFIC MITIGATION, FACILITY DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT, PEDESTRIAN AMENITIES, INTERSECTION IMPROVEMENTS, SIDEWALKS, MULTIUSE TRAILS AND SAFETY RELATED STREET IMPROVEMENTS; TO FINANCE THE COST OF ACQUISITION, DESIGN AND/OR DEVELOPMENT OF REAL AND/OR PERSONAL PROPERTY FOR RECREATIONAL FIELDS AND PARK FACILITIES TOGETHER WITH FURNITURE, FIXTURES AND EQUIPMENT RELATED THERETO; AND TO FINANCE THE ACQUISITION, DESIGN AND/OR DEVELOPMENT OF A FIRE STATION TOGETHER WITH FURNITURE, FIXTURES AND EQUIPMENT RELATED THERETO. Even Mayor Wood disagreed with the wording suggesting bonds for each of the items spelled out to allow voters choose which to approve. Council chose a very broad “one category” statement authorizing expenditures of $14.7 million in broad catagories nearly everywhere in the city. This reality can be confirmed at the link to Council meeting minutes. https://docs.google.com/document/d/15NW-0J0sjKoNTJRvQ3_iEbAI8Sk8UJadFTFcglKZRo8/edit
Concerned Resident September 24, 2012 at 01:09 PM
I think the concern is not the list of projects, but the lack of wording in the bond issue that would guarantee the money is actually spent on the listed projects after the bond is issued. As it stands now, it appears there is nothing preventing the funds from being reallocated after the issue.
Concerned Resident September 24, 2012 at 01:29 PM
I'm not an expert on public financing. Can you explain again how the bond issue actually saves money in the long run due to inflation and the rising construction costs you mention? Are you saying that the interest rate you'd pay on the loan is lower then the rate of inflation?


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