Council approves ballpark financing

The citizens of Brownfield will soon be responsible for $3.5 million in secured debt after the City Council voted Thursday to move forward with Certificate of Obligation to pay for a new six-field baseball and softball complex. The latest cost estimate for the new complex was $4.4 million, according to representatives of Lubbock based engineering and architecture firm Parkhill, Smith, and Cooper.

It was mentioned Thursday morning that the figure was only an estimate and the council doesn’t yet know a firm cost for the complex. Councilwoman Judy Besler asked if the council should know the true cost of the complex before securing financing. Council member Teresa Sparks likened the move to getting pre-approval for a home loan before buying a house.

Councilman Leon Pope responded, “but you know the cost of the house you’re going to buy.” City Manager Eldon Jobe assured the council that proper protocols were being followed. Jobe said the additional money needed over and above the $3.5 million CO would be paid through HOT Funds reserves and the city’s general revenues.

The council has indicated at previous meetings that they would tap the HOT Funds for a $500,000 down payment on the project. The additional $400,000 presumably will come from the city’s current reserves, which Jobe estimated were around $3 million after pulling funds for the Police and Fire departments in recent years.

Council member Mary Valdonado asked why the city was borrowing the money instead of paying for it in the same fashion as the public safety buildings. Jobe said the reserves need to replenish for a few years after they were drawn down for those projects. Jake Lawrence, Vice President of Dallas-based Government Capital Securities Corporation, told the council he was confident he could get the project financed for 15 years at 3.55 percent interest. Local banker Mike Richardson told the council he thought that figure was lower than the current market.

The council voted unanimously to enter into a contract with GCSC to move forward with financing.

Article courtesy of Brownfield News

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