Council approves $1.2 million bond issue for Town Park

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By Nick Nunn Staff Writer

The Madison City Council approved a resolution during a called meeting last Friday requesting the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) to issue a lease revenue bond in an amount not to exceed $1,200,000 in order to finance the acquisition of Town Park.

The City of Madison will pay the debt service on the bond through lease contract payments over the next five years.

The resolution also states that the Mayor of the City of Madison will be authorized to negotiate the terms of the lease contract and that the city will retain the services of Atlanta-based Robert W. Baird & Co. to solicit bids for the sale of the bond.

The bond initiative resolution passed the council without amendment. The City Council also approved an engagement letter naming Robert W. Baird & Co. as a placement agent for the bond initiative.

City Council Member Michael Naples questioned the appropriateness of a sentence in the engagement letter, which stated that, unlike a municipal advisor, Baird is “not required by federal law to act in the best interest of the City or Issuer without regard to its own financial or other interests.”

Madison City Attorney Joe Reitman stated that the sentence in question in “stock verbage” but assented to the sentence being struck from the engagement letter before being approved by the council.

Naples also had questions regarding a section of the letter addressing an optional redemption clause, but Reitman stated that the redemption clause is “protective language” that is ultimately “in our favor.”

The council also addressed the return of a $400 damage deposit to Tim Reilly, organizer of the Cotton South Arts Festival. The damage deposit had been withheld by the city after the festival because of a dispute about Reilly holding an event in Town Park on the Friday night before the festival, although the park had officially only been rented for Saturday and Sunday.

Madison Mayor Bruce Gilbert suggested that the matter of returning the deposit be left up to the staff’s decision but recommended that the city should return the deposit and then bill Reilly for any charges that staff would deem appropriate. Following a discussion of the circumstances surrounding the event in question, Madison City Manager David Nunn stated that the city will return Reilly’s damage deposit and then decide upon the subsequent course of action.

“We will refund the money and then decide what to do,” said Nunn.

The council postponed the discussion of the System of Care contracts for the fiscal year 2014 until their Nov. 11 meeting. Reitman stated that he has been making “extensive changes” to the document in order to “tighten up the contract.”

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