Cambridge receives  positive financial news

The pandemic has caused at least a little bit of positive news for the City of Cambridge, in the form of financing for two major projects.

During the May 4 city council meeting, the council heard from Nick Anhut of Ehler’s that the bids have come back for bonding for the 2020 street improvement project. Out of six bids, the winning bid from Piper Sandler (formerly known as Piper Jaffray) came in at an incredibly low interest rate of 1.58%.

“It’s a phenomenal rate,” Anhut said. “We are probably in a period of low interest rates for the near term, but it’s good to see it come to fruition and be of benefit to the city.”

Anhut added another reason for the low interest rate was the city’s ability to keep an excellent “AA” bond rating.

“All the rating agencies are definitely aware of the global pandemic, the impact it is having on communities across the country,” Anhut said. “They actually have an official position of a ‘negative outlook.’ They believe the recessionary pressure is going to have a negative impact on finances. Despite all of that, the city’s very strong reserve levels and financial policies carry forward quite strongly with them and they saw absolutely no reason to change the rating for the city.”

The second piece of good news came in the confirmation of added financial help with the Cambridge Airport’s taxiway relocation project. According to Lindsay Reidt of SEH, because of all of the Federal Aviation Administration’s special pandemic funding, the city could complete the project on a larger scale, with it only costing the city $7,671.94. The total cost of the project is just short of $1.4 million. Cambridge Financial Director Caroline Moe said the city actually had over $15,000 set aside in its budget for this project.

Besides the relocation of the taxiway and the acquisition of property that was part of the original project plans, the city will be able to widen the taxiway to 35 feet, plus add LED lighting on the taxiway.

 “So basically we are able to do a better project for a lot less of our local share of money,” concluded Mayor Jim Godfrey.

Protective shields purchased

Assuming there will still be concern over the spread of the COVID-19 virus at the beginning of November, Woulfe requested the council approve the purchase of 10 plastic protective shields to be placed at election judges’ tables.

Woulfe said she is asking the council to approve the request now because the shields could initially be placed at the front counters of City Hall and temporarily moved for the election.

“I think it would be important for us to have these in place at the time we reopen City Hall...to add that same level of protection between staff and the public,” Woulfe said. “It’s one of the things the governor would like to see in place before businesses and buildings reopen.”

The cost of the shields is $149.95 each and the estimated shipping charge would be up to $500, making a total cost of just short of $2,000. Woulfe said the city could pay for the shields using money that was to be used for attending the League of Minnesota Cities annual conference, which was canceled.

The council unanimously approved the requested purchase.

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