City starts step toward bonding for court

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published December 11, 2012

The city moved forward with plans for a new 40th District Court by giving its authorization to publish its intent to issue bonds to pay for the building.

Bond Counsel Patrick McGow of Miller Canfield said the resolution authorizes the city clerk to publish the necessary notices that will enable the city to move forward with the financing, with the bond sale planned for sometime in February 2013.

This is a first step in a multi-step process, McGow said, and it does not obligate the city to borrow the entire amount listed.

The notice will state that the city intends to borrow an amount not to exceed $2 million “for the purpose of paying part of the costs of constructing, furnishing and equipping a new district courthouse facility, together with all necessary site improvements.”

The bonds will have a maximum duration of 25 years, McGow said, but exactly how long repayment would take did not have to be decided at the Dec. 3 meeting.

Out of the total $3.59 million cost of the court, the court building fund already has about $1.79 million saved. Only about $1.88 million in bonds will be issued.

A resident speaking at the meeting asked council members why they wouldn’t use some of the rainy-day fund money to just pay for the court and allow it to pay the city back instead of issuing bonds.

“The court operates independently,” said Mayor Kip Walby. “The court could pay for the bond. Our intention has always been for the court to fund itself.”

He said City Council would still have final approval before the city issues the bonds — the notice is just a legal requirement to alert the public so that anyone objecting can attempt to put the matter to a vote of residents. They would have 45 days to collect signatures from 10 percent of registered voters to make that happen.

The motion to publish the notice of intent was unanimously approved.