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M-I bond measures to appear on ballot

MONMOUTH/INDEPENDENCE -- There will be local measures on the ballot in Monmouth and Independence in May.

March 05, 2013

MONMOUTH/INDEPENDENCE -- There will be local measures on the ballot in Monmouth and Independence in May.

City councils in both communities adopted ballot titles and language last week for property-tax increases that will be put before respective voters during the primary election.

In Monmouth, officials approved a ballot measure that, if backed by residents, lets the city issue up to $4 million in general obligation bonds to buy the old Forest Capital building and turn it into a new police station.

"We are a go," Monmouth City Manager Scott McClure said.

Independence leaders, meanwhile, agreed to move forward with a measure that would raise up to $5.91 million in general obligation bonds to refinance an equivalent amount of debt from various capital projects -- and avoid reducing staff and services in various departments by 20 to 25 percent.

"I can see the need, we know there's need, we want to maintain the city workers we have," Independence City Councilor Nancy Lodge said.

Monmouth is trying to replace its existing police station off Knox Street with a 10,000-square-foot facility off Highway 99W.

Monmouth's bond rate would increase property taxes by 45 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, which would take effect when an existing library bond expires; the tax increase would amount to 17 cents per $1,000.

Independence's bond rate would be $1.32 per $1,000 and would take effect when an existing municipal bond expires. Net increase would be at most 25 cents per $1,000.

The rate is something officials have touted since proposing a bond measure in late 2012. The $5.9 million bond issue limit, however, is significantly higher than a ballpark $4.5 million estimate by Mayor John McArdle in January.

The difference was the inclusion of loans for a water reservoir and Hoffman Road improvements and bond issuance costs into the refinancing, said City Manager David Clyne.

After a window for legal challenges to the measures concludes -- this week -- the cities have until March 21 to file the measures with the Polk County Clerk for inclusion on the ballot.

MONMOUTH BOND MEASURE

* Would allow Monmouth to issue up to $4 million in general obligation bonds to purchase the Forest Capital building, located at 450 Pacific Avenue North (Highway 99W), and convert it into a new police station for the Monmouth Police Department.

Property tax assessment rate would be 45 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

What voters will actually pay above current property taxes, after expiration of other city bonds: 17 cents per $1,000. Bonds will mature in 25 years or less.

INDEPENDENCE BOND MEASURE

* Would allow Independence to issue up to $5.91 million in general obligation bonds to refinance existing debt on two new water reservoirs, improvements to Highway 51 and other capital projects; the refinancing would prevent the city from having to cut staff from police, public works and other departments.

Property tax assessment rate is $1.32 per $1,000 of assessed value.

What voters will actually pay above current property taxes, after expiration of other city bonds: 25 cents per $1,000. Bonds will mature in 20 years or less.