Council OKs new financing note
A proposal to issue a new tax apportionment note to finance the downtown revitalization project won approval from two city entities Tuesday.
The City Council signed off on the plan for a $28.5 million note, upon the recommendation of the Lawton Economic Development Authority (LEDA). LEDA is the entity tasked with overseeing the financing portion of the project that has brought new retail development and a hotel to Northwest 2nd Street, north of West Gore Boulevard. Those board members met two hours before the council meeting to give approval to the plan.
City attorneys said three-quarters of the nine-member LEDA (or seven members) had to approve the resolution setting out the financing plan because it incurs debt. The same three-fourths rule applied to the council, where six of the eight members voted yes (Ward 8 Councilman Randy Warren and Ward 5 Councilman Dwight Tanner abstained because they own property in the Tax Increment Financing District that comprises the redevelopment area). The proposal won unanimous approval from LEDA, whose members had discussed the issue in mid-July, but couldn’t vote then because they lacked the seven members needed for passage.
Nathan Ellis, an attorney with Public Finance Law of Oklahoma City, said the new note actually combines the existing debt from the original $31.6 million note passed in 2013 (the principal balance of that note now is $26.3 million) with a new $2.05 million debt: $1.3 million for a contingency fund and $750,000 for LEDA’s existing obligations. That option gives LEDA one note to manage, rather than two.