Camas approves $10.5 million bond ordinance

If issued, the money could pay for several projects

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The Camas City Council on July 21 approved an ordinance that could provide up to $10.5 million in limited tax general obligation bonds to fund several different projects.

The ordinance gives the city the ability to issue, sell and deliver the bonds for items that could include purchasing a pool and sports facility for a community center, making road and transportation improvements, acquiring buildings and other capital improvements to city facilities, and paying the costs for the issuance and sale of the bonds.

“This in no way commits those bonds to be used for any purpose or actually borrows the money,” said Mayor Scott Higgins. “It just authorizes the authority. When the time comes, council will be presented with those [projects] individually.”

Finance Director Cathy Huber Nickerson explained that the ordinance provides the city with “flexibility.”

“This would allow us to go ahead and pay for the cost of issuance, as well as provide the city an ability to be flexible — we could issue them in a series, in one lump some,” she said. “But we have committed to coming back to the council to let them know what it is we will be purchasing, the budget for it, and how we’ll pay those back, prior to the actual buying or selling of those bonds.”

Nickerson said the city recently received a bond credit rating of “AA-plus” from Standard & Poor’s, which would provide a substantial savings to the city. In addition, when it comes to rates, it’s a good time to sell bonds.

“Right now, the market is very favorable for us,” she said.

During the past month, the City Council has been discussing the possibility of purchasing Lacamas Swim & Sport Club, although no decisions have been made. The City Council is expected to discuss that issue in more detail at one of its meetings in August.