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What's the best way to finance the cost of the Locust Road project?

Posted: Fri, May 22, 2020 11:51 AM

The City of Decorah is expected to borrow over $5 million to pay for the cost of the Locust Road reconstruction and the smaller Quarry Road storm sewer project, as well as two projects involving Ridge Road.   On Thursday, Decorah City Council members met to discuss the bonding options.

Thursday's discussion revolved around which projects to include in the bond issue.  City Finance Committee chair Randy Schissel proposed changes involving both Ridge Road projects and the Court Street and Winnebago Street repairs.  His proposal would cut $235,000 from the bonding package.

But other city council members didn't favor that approach.  Johanna Bergan said the top comment she gets from city residents is, "We want better roads."  Mayor Lorraine Borowski added that she thought both projects involved streets in bad condition.

Schissel's proposal also involved using local option sales tax receipts to pay for some of the costs of some of the street projects.  But the State of Iowa has warned that such receipts have been falling because the COVID-19 pandemic has sharply reducing road traffic.  City Clerk/Treasurer Wanda Hemesath says the state has said current LOST funding to cities will remain the same until August--and cities won't learn about the new funding levels until August 10th.  The Decorah City Council will have to make a decision on street project financing well before that date—most likely at the June 15th Decorah City Council meeting.