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April 22, 2019 12:00 pm

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Saugatuck Taxpayers Will Save More Than $372,000 Thanks To City's Refinanced Road Bonds

Local taxpayers will save more than $372,000 in interest payments over the next 11 years thanks to the recent refinancing of Saugatuck city’s 2009 road bonds, officials reported at Monday night’s council meeting.

Monday’s agenda also dealt with a vote to establish a special commission that would look into and provide recommendations about pay compensation for those serving on the city council.

“We were able to secure a 1.89 percent interest rate, which is really great,” Saugatuck City Treasurer Peter Stanislawski told the council about the road bonds refinancing.

Macatawa Bank won the refinancing bid, being the lowest among four other bidders, including Chase Bank, 2.14%; Old National Bank, 2.18%; CFC Capital, 2.19%, and BBT&T, 2.38%.

The city’s initial refunding report estimated a conservative interest rate of 2.70%, which projected a savings—after all costs deducted— of $205,719 versus the updated projected savings of $372,147.

“Getting that low of a rate for an 11-year bond issue demonstrates great community support by Macatawa Bank and also shows how strong the bank (and the other bidders) view the city’s tax base and future,” reported a September 21 city staff memo to city council.

With regards to the other city business, the Saugatuck City Council did not approve increasing their own salaries; rather, it voted 4-to-1 to establish a compensation commission charged with reviewing and recommending city council compensation.

Any possible future vote to increase—or decrease—monetary compensation is a different matter altogether, explained officials.

The current council’s individual compensation is $35 per meeting for up to 24 meeting a year.

City staff’s preliminary look into the matter showed that the Saugatuck City Council was one of the least compensated when compared to surrounding municipalities, including the communities of Allegan, Douglas, Wayland, Otsego, South Haven, Holland, Plainwell, and Fennville.

For example, Saugatuck City Council’s counterparts across the bridge in Douglas, with a population of 1,257, receive $50 per meeting for up to two meetings a month and the Fennville City Commission members, with a community population of 1,000, gets $40 per meeting. Saugatuck has a population of 925.

Saugatuck City Council Member Barry Johnson voted against the measure.

“What is another $10 to $20 difference for our compensation?” he said, disapproving of Monday’s resolution motion.

To which Saugatuck City Council Mayor Pro-Tem Ken Trester responded with, “I understand your sentiment and where you are coming from, but I don’t see any harm in setting up this commission.”

Saugatuck Taxpayers Will Save More Than $372,000 Thanks To City’s Refinanced Road Bonds

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