Council OKs borrowing for big purchases

Published 12:55 am Sunday, March 20, 2011

Washington’s City Council authorized borrowing no more than $1.26 million from Bank of America to pay for a series of 59-month installment purchases.

The borrowed money will be used to buy vehicles, heavy equipment and other big-ticket items.

That authorization came with a reminder to keep the borrowed amount as low as possible. Councilman Doug Mercer said that during his review of the list of proposed installment purchases, he identified about $90,000 in adjustments that likely could be made to lower the total amount the city will borrow.

“So, why are we borrowing $90,000 that we don’t need and spend the interest (unintelligible),” Mercer said at the council’s March 14 meeting.

Mercer contended the savings realized on the purchase of police cars and a ditch mower, among other items, should have resulted in the city borrowing less money for the installment purchases. Although Matt Rauschenbach, the city’s chief financial officer, concurred with Mercer’s assessment, he said that borrowing the entire $1.26 million could work to the city’s favor. The city could use any leftover money from the $1.26 million to pay off the loan earlier than expected.

Rauschenbach said the city could reduce the amount of money it plans to borrow after another review of the proposed purchases and before signing the loan agreement.

In other business, the council received a notebook containing the resumes/applications of semi-finalists for the city manager’s position. Pete Connet, interim city manager, and other city staff evaluated all resumes/applications sent in by people seeking to replace James C. Smith as city manager.

Smith resigned last year to become town manager in Farmville.

The council and mayor will review the applicants who made the first cut before narrowing field further. The deadline for resumes/applications was Feb. 28, but the position will remain open until filled. The city received 144 resumes/applications from people seeking to replace Smith, according to the city’s Human Resources Department.

The council did not indicate when its review of the semi-finalists would end. The council has indicated it would like to have a new city manager hired by this summer. Connet is contracted to serve as interim city manager until July 1.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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