By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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Sequim officials were set to meet with financial advisers and bond underwriters today about issuing bonds for the new municipal building’s construction after the City Council unanimously approved the issuance of up to $11 million in bonds Monday night.
“By Thursday morning, we should be in the market,” Alice Ostdiek, the city’s bond counsel from the Seattle firm of Foster Pepper, told the council Monday.
The city plans to build, beginning next year, a new 34,000-square-foot City Hall and police station.
The bonds will be the first general obligation bonds ever issued by the city. They will be marketed by D.A. Davidson’s Port Angeles office.
After a July 12 presentation to ratings firm Standard & Poor’s in San Francisco, the city received a AA- bond rating.
“That is remarkable for a city this size,” Ostdiek said.
The resolution passed by the council to issue the bonds set a cap of $660,000 on the annual payment the city will make to repay the construction loan.
Costs of City Hall
The new City Hall is expected to cost $15 million in total.
The city has spent $1.6 million in buying property and for consultants. Another $3.4 million will be taken from the city’s cash reserves.
Utility funds will be tapped to pay for portions of the building that will be used to house their departments.
The bonds will be repaid from several sources: $225,000 from a public safety tax approved by voters in 2012, which raised the city sales tax by 0.1 percent; $200,000 from elimination of current rent for city office space, including the police station inside the Sequim Village Shopping Center at 609 W. Washington St.; $75,000 from the real estate excise tax; and $160,000 from current excess budget capacity.
Architecture firms are now working on designs for the building. Those designs are expected to be finished late this fall.
City Hall zoning
The council also unanimously passed changes to downtown zoning regulations aimed at loosening restrictions on the new City Hall’s design.
Those included restrictions on roof style and metal facades.
Chris Hugo, director of community development, said the regulations were impediments to building an “exciting, iconic downtown civic building.”
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at email@example.com.