The City of Mount Pleasant seeks bids to change interest rates on bond refunds


Mount Pleasant Mayor Kathy Ling smiles during a Mount Pleasant City Commission meeting on Monday, Oct. 10 in Mount Pleasant City Hall.

Changing interest rates on two bonds previously issued by the City Commission might save around $173,000 for the City of Mount Pleasant.

The City approved a resolution Monday to ask local and non-local banks to bid on the debt and possibly change interest rates for a given bonds. One bond refunds the water supply system, and another covers the general obligation limited tax refund. 

Once bids are submitted, the city finance director and city manager will decide whether to keep or refinance the outstanding bonds issued depending on the rates offered. 

"It seems like a really good way to save money," said Mayor Kathy Ling.

The City Commission also approved more routine items on the consent agenda, including an in-state bid contract not to exceed $100,000 for manhole rehabilitation. Another was a bid for tree trimming services in 2017 not to exceed $33,400, and a third bid went to various chemical providers for the city's water treatment process in 2017.

The city commission agreed to opt out of healthcare limits under the Michigan public act 152 of 2011, which sets limits on the amount paid by health insurance for city employees. City Manager Nancy Ridley said they believe "costs will be below those limits."

"We recommend opting out as a precaution as we have done for the past five years," she said. "We are recommending (this) because of the uncertainty with self-funded plans."

The City Commission also agreed to consider contract for health insurance stop loss carrier. Ridley said the bid the city recommends is "a 21 percent reduction in cost from what we've had before," producing $43,000 in savings.

Residents who wish to examine the 2017 operating budget and millage rate can do so at the city website, city clerks office and local library. Ling encouraged residents to take a look, as approval of the budget makes important decisions. 

"It is still possible for people to comment and speak," she said. "You do hear people talking about the level of taxes, and that is included in the expenditures of the budget."

The budget will be submitted for approval to the board during their last meeting in December. 

Payrolls and warrants were approved, as well as a proposal to amend the Mount Pleasant City Code of Ordinances in section 51.126. The amendments were to fix cross references to section numbers in other areas that had been modified in the past, but not updated elsewhere.

During work session, the City Commission talked about a couple of possible resolutions they could vote on in the future. As a result, an upcoming resolution will be drafted and put before the commission recommending the split of two local boards.

The Tax Increment Finance Authority Board, which overseas downtown Mount Pleasant and the industrial park North, is currently combined with the Downtown Development Authority, which overseas Mission and Pickard Streets.

The resolution would recommend splitting the TIFA and DDA boards, and have crossover members serve on both the Tiffa and Downtown Development board, which would have meetings together. 

Another possible project was discussed during work session. This would add an additional task to a current zoning consultant's duties, who might be contracted for additional work in 2017. The new task would be to determine possible uses and looks for vacant business locations downtown. In addition, staff will prepare a request for proposals to provide a target market analysis.

City Planner Jacob Kain encouraged the commission to participate in the upcoming "Planapalooza," a four day event designed to ask community input on what they would like to change and replace in the current zoning ordinance.

"We haven't reviewed how we regulate our building environment to this extent since at least 1971," Kain said. "I would say this is the first time we have gone to the members of the community to find out where we want to go with zoning in the future."

The event is this weekend in the City Commission Chamber of City Hall, from Friday to Monday. A presentation and workshop will occur on Friday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Consultants will be available Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

A presentation summarizing the results will take place at 7 p.m. Monday.