Cedaredge eyes bond refinancing

By Hank Lohmeyer


Cedaredge trustees were scheduled on Tuesday this week to consider an ordinance authorizing issuance of $2.7 million in water revenue bonds which will be paid off by residents' water billings.

The bonds are a refinance of an existing USDA loan and they also provide new money to settle the $175,000 court mediated agreement with Upper Surface Creek Domestic Water Users Association over its ownership interest in the Cedaredge water utility. Until finally settled last month, the ownership issue was a potential liability the town had faced for a decade -- but it was a potential liability for which the town had not set aside any cash in the water fund.

Since at least 2014, $128,000 has been taken from the water fund and transferred to the town's golf course fund by means of intra-fund water share "sales," a large equipment loan write-off, and by direct infusion of cash from water rate payers. Money has been used for golfing operations and to keep the golf course open.

The $2.7 million in water revenue bonds are issued at 2.99 percent with provision of extension in ten years at then current interest rates which trustees project will save the town money in the long run.

In other business at its regular March 16 meeting, the Cedaredge Town Board dealt with the following matters:

• Cedaredge residents who are issued tickets have a new incentive to just mail in their money and avoid seeking court appearances that cost the town money. Steep new increases in fines for getting ticketed on code violations will soon take effect. Fines for getting ticketed on charges of junk, weeds, and a host of other code offenses have in some cases been doubled for first and second offenses. A third offense can bring a mandatory court appearance. The increased fines are a move by town government "to enforce compliance" with ordinances, town officials say.

• Trustees approved a permit for the Cedaredge Area Chamber of Commerce to have alcohol at its annual banquet. The banquet will be held at the Stolte Shed on Friday, March 31, from 6 to 8 p.m. Chamber board member Bruce Hovde said the public is invited. Tickets are $15 at the chamber office.

• Trustees adopted a proclamation on Child Abuse Prevention Month: "Now, therefore, I, Ray Hanson, mayor pro tem of Cedaredge call upon all citizens, community agencies, faith groups, medical facilities, elected leaders and businesses to increase their participation in our efforts to support families, thereby preventing child abuse and strengthening the communities in which we live."

• Trustees reviewed ideas for directional and destination signage in the town.

• The animal shelter reported taking in 107 stray dogs (all returned to owners) and 125 cats during 2016. The group also reports that its fundraising goal has reached the $50,000 level.

• Trustees approved payment of annual software support fees of $6,000 per year for 2017 and $8,550 in 2018. The vendor offers a 5 percent discount for payment up-front.

• A promotional idea that hasn't been tried in Cedaredge for well over a decade will make an appearance on May 5. According to Chamber of Commerce board member Bruce Hovde, art walk events will take place on Main Street on the first Friday of May, June and July. Plein air art events have been staged in recent years.