Moscow Councilor: No option but bond

$10 million bond would pay for new police station, fire equipment, streets and infrastructure.

The question is: what else will they use the money for? 

Moscow voters have a big decision to make next spring, when they will be asked to vote on a $10 million general obligation bond.

If approved, the bond would be used to pay for a new police station, new fire trucks, downtown infrastructure improvements, street maintenance, park development and more.

The proposed 10-year bond is included in a $73.9 million budget for the 2017 fiscal year the City Council signed off on Monday. If the bond is rejected by the public next spring, the budget will shrink to $63.9 million. Passage requires at least 66.7 percent of voter approval.

Moscow City Supervisor Gary Riedner said the details of the bond have not been finalized and he is unsure how much property taxes would increase if it is passed. The recently approved budget already includes a 1 percent property tax increase, below the maximum 3 percent increase allowable by state law.

Councilor Art Bettge said he does not believe the bond will be a major burden on taxpayers, and he added now is an optimal time to pursue a bond because of the current low interest rates.

“The city’s limited on its ability to generate money and some of the items on this bond and the city’s needs exceed what we can actually fund,” Bettge said. “The city really has no option but to go for the general obligation bond.

“Financially speaking, it’s a really good time to do something like this,” he added.