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Park Hills budget jumps $6 million thanks to TIFs, Road District Bonds

The Park Hills budget for the 2005-2006 fiscal year provides connector roads, an additional city staff position and new city buildings, thanks to a substantial increase in anticipated revenues. City Council approved the budget on Thursday, with no increase in taxes or utilities.

Anticipated revenues for the year are $13,378,340, up from $7,069,666 last year, in part because the city still has $1.5 million in Tax Increment Finance (TIF) funds from last year that will not be spent until next year. TIF funds may only be used for designated TIF projects.

City Administrator John Kennedy said the city used a conservative figure for revenues for the general sales tax, so actual revenues totals will most likely be higher.

“This is significantly more money than last year,” Kennedy said. “Last year, our total expenditures were slightly more than $7 million. In this budget, expenditures are $11,857,000.”

Sales tax revenues were higher than anticipated, contributing to the jump in revenues, but the biggest factor in the revenue increase is the plan to issue TIF and Transportation Development District bonds this fall. Those bonds are expected to generate approximately $6 million in additional revenues and will be used to develop two different areas in the city.

Approximately $2 million of the bonds will be used in the Fairgrounds area, to cover utility relocation, water system improvements and other city costs incurred by construction of the outer road. The new section of road runs from Red Rooster Road to the Fairgrounds. Depending on the payment amounts, that money could be paid off in the next three to five years, Kennedy estimated.

Another $3.3 million of the bond money would go toward construction of a connecting road from Highway 8 to Industrial Drive. That plan includes improving Forrest Street as a truck route and building a new section of road across Flat River Creek. Design work is expected to begin this autumn, with construction beginning in late spring or early summer of 2006.

Also under consideration is an extension of Fir Street to Industrial Drive for car traffic.

Approximately $350,000 of the bond money will be used to refinance existing certificates of participation at lower interest rates. Most of the remaining money will go toward the costs associated with issuing the bonds and to the debt service fund.

The budget includes other projects as well. Approximately $200,000 in city funds will pay for a new street department building to house office, storage and shop areas. The new building will replace the current building at the intersection of Mitchell and Congress streets. The city plans to demolish the old concession stand at the Sports Complex in late October and build a new one with the help of students from UniTec Career Center. The cooperative effort will reduce the cost to less than $50,000, Kennedy estimated. The new stand will be a rectangular structure approximately 40 feet by 48 feet and will provide outside access to restrooms.

Phase Two of the downtown revitalization project also is scheduled for construction in the upcoming year’s budget. Phase Two covers the section of downtown from Main and Science streets to Mitchell Street and includes replacement of sidewalks, curbs, gutters and repaving. Cost of that project is estimated at $350,000 and will be financed in part through a Community Development Block Grant and a USDA grant.

The budget also provides for an additional code enforcement officer. Hourly wage for the full-time position is $9.65 per hour.

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