City may issue $73 million in certificates of obligation

Money would pay for projects that are in various stages of construction

City may issue $73 million in certificates of obligation

EL PASO, Texas - The city is looking to issue $73 million of debt in the form of certificates of obligation, more commonly known as COs.

City Council took the first step in the process this week.

The money is going to pay for dozens of projects that are in various stages of construction -- or in some cases -- are already complete.

The Mesa Rapid Transit System -- with its Brio buses and pick-up stations -- is just one of many items that would be funded with the certificates of obligation.

"Predominately, there's the street infrastructure projects," Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria, the city's chief financial officer, told ABC-7 on Tuesday during the city council meeting. "We have about $20 million of the proceeds going to street infrastructure projects. Some of them are for the RTS -- the Rapid Transit System -- for Sun Metro."

Some of the bigger projects: More than $12 million for Sun Metro's operations and maintenance facility, and over $5 million for the Environmental Services Department to acquire land.

Just a few of the other approved projects that would get funding include the San Jacinto Plaza renovation, which has been under construction since July 2013; improvements to the Mulligan Building, which was officially dedicated this week as City Hall 2; construction on Montwood Drive and bike paths around the city.

The COs would come at a cost to taxpayers.

"It'll affect the tax rates by about 1.8 cents, (and) it'll impact it for next year," said Candelaria, later adding that it would come out to about $18 per $100,000 home valuation.

City Council is next scheduled to discuss the COs July 22, at which time it would outline the ordinance and set up the parameters to issue the debt.

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