Finance Committee meeting, Wednesday November 7, 2012

FINANCE COMMITTEE

Meeting called to order at 5 p.m. Mayor Scott McBrayer spoke at length about the process of obtaining bond proposals by telephoning. He favored acting while interest was down, recommending Merchant Capital (80% fee) and Protective Securities (20% fee) represented by Rory Hartley (Homewood resident) for the $16 million debt and citing Merchant’s size and experience in its favor.  The Mayor, Committee Chairman Walter Jones, and Parks and Recreation Director Berkley Squires all cited an urgency to secure financing to meet construction deadlines, plan for member services during construction, and not miss more than one pool season.

Committee member Jenifer Champ-Wallis suggested the council be allowed 30 days to review the proposals while temporary funding was approved, to be reimbursed from the warrant proceeds. From the audience, Ms. Reid said her understanding of financing deals wouldn’t be improved by a longer review time.

The measure was brought to a vote after Ms. Champ-Wallis asked for comments from the audience.  Joe Stephens (former Ward 4 council candidate) criticized the “wrap” deal on the table for $16 million, which paid only interest for 24 years and large balloon payments through 2043, incurring an estimated $15.7 million in total interest.  He recommended the “level” option instead, incurring a lesser interest amount of $9.7 million.

Present: Council committee members Walter Jones, Britt Thames, Jenifer Champ-Wallis, Peter Wright, Vance Moody.

Absent: None

Audience: About 6 residents, reporter Bill Singleton, parks board member Chris Mason and Chris Meeks, Merchant Capital representative, Mayor Scott McBrayer, council members Heather Reid, Fred Hawkins, Patrick McClusky, Bruce Limbaugh, and Richard Laws.

Approved 3-2. On a motion by Vance Moody to accept the mayor’s recommendation for immediate council approval, seconded by Mr. Wright, the committee voted as follows: Moody-yes, Wright-yes, Jones-yes, Thames-no, Champ-Wallis-no.

The Finance Committee meeting adjourned around 6:30 p.m.

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