By Kaylee Lindenmuth
GIRARDVILLE - Girardville Borough Council at their Thursday evening meeting heard a presentation regarding the potential refinancing of the Girardville Area Municipal Authority's loans.
Conducting the presentation was Melissa Hughes, Senior Analyst from PFM Financial Advisors LLC. Hughes noted that GAMA currently has three loans open through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, each with a fixed rate of 4.5%.
According to Hughes, three ways to refinance the loan exist: a bank loan, a bond issue, and a bond pool loan.
"There are two bond pool loan programs in Pennsylvania," said Hughes. "The one that we think would work best is called the Delaware Valley Regional Finance Authority, and the benefit to that program is it offers fixed rates... So you'd be replacing one fixed rate with a new lower fixed rate."
Hughes explained that the bond pool program, founded by the "Philadelphia collar counties," Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery, issues large bonds, and "spreads the cost of issuance out over a large pool of issuers." She continued to note that, with the credit ratings of the core counties, Girardville, through the program, can "punch a little above their weight, rate-wise."
According to Hughes, the program requires a municipal guarantee and either a credit rating or bond insurance. For the municipal guarantee, the borough would agree to step in and pay on the loan on-time if GAMA would be unable.
"Because the borough guarantees it, you (borough council) might be called upon to make the payment and then seek reimbursement from the authority," said Hughes, noting that the existing loans have a similar guarantee.
Hughes noted that, across the length of the new loan, which will last until 2042, the authority will save $375,000, or $13,000 a year.
Borough Council moved to begin the process on their part.
Borough council moved to join the Commonwealth fuel card program which would save 3 cents per gallon of gas for borough vehicles.
Council also submitted a budget modification for the townhouse project on Main Street.
Council motioned to approve the sale of a property at 615 East Mahanoy Avenue.
It was noted that June 23 will be the date for Girardville Clean-A-Block, and the organizing group is looking for involvement, and suggestions in which blocks the public would like cleaned.
Council approved sending a letter of support to the Mahanoy Creek Watershed Association.
The Girard Hose Company sent a letter to council requesting the closure of Oak Street from 2nd to Vine for their annual block party on August 10 and 11, which was approved, as well as parking restrictions for both sides of East Main from 2nd to 3rd for the parade lineup.
Council received notification and did not object to the fact that James Kilker would repaint the front of his building on Main Street, and the sidewalk and parking spaces would be obstructed.
During the public comment portion, citizens raised concerns regarding code issues at a home on Upper Railroad Street, and vandalism of a flowerbed at a park at Main and 2nd Streets.
One citizen asked for clarification as to when permits are needed for home improvement work to which Council President Rob Krick responded that a permit is needed if the structure would be changed. The work in question involved roofing, and a council member noted that if the shingles would be replaced, no permit is needed, but if the wood underneath would be replaced, then a permit is needed.
Another citizen suggested repainting the Williams Street Bridge.