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Council shifts focus from debt to infrastructure

Superior is shifting gears with pipeline revenue long denied the city. Rather than pay down debts of the past, Mayor Bruce Hagen envisions utilizing the money to invest in the city's infrastructure. Hagen said he believes credit-rating agencies w...

Hagen

Superior is shifting gears with pipeline revenue long denied the city.

Rather than pay down debts of the past, Mayor Bruce Hagen envisions utilizing the money to invest in the city's infrastructure.

Hagen said he believes credit-rating agencies will see the switch from debt reduction to investment in the city's infrastructure with favor.

After all, while the city's been paying down its debt, its infrastructure has not gotten the attention it needs.

Tuesday night, the council approved using 100 percent of the terminal tax revenue paid by Enbridge Energy to bolster the city's Capital Improvement Program.

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Previously, the city has used two-thirds of that revenue to pay down its debt while using one-third to enhance economic development efforts.

Between 2006, when the state opted to return the terminal tax revenue intended for Superior to the city, the city has received $3,973,406 from the state. Combined with savings from the early retirement of debt, the city has pre-paid $3,918,491 of its general obligation debt.

Hagen said he and Finance Director Jean Vito met with Ehler's, the city's bonding firm, and they agreed redirecting the money to infrastructure improvements would be a good use for the money.

"No one in the world right now is paying down their debt sooner than later, but more importantly ... this is an investment in our assets," Hagen said.

Hagen expects to present the full plan for the new Capital Improvement Program, which will expand the three-year program to a six-year plan, to the council in August.

In other business:

The council endorsed this year's National Night Out celebrations. Plans are in the works for National Night Out events at Faxon Street and Lamborn Avenue from 7 to 8 p.m. Aug. 2, and 4-6 p.m. Aug. 2 at Bartley Manor.

Councilors approve a three-year Harbor Development statement of intent and approved submitting an application to the Harbor Assistance Program for dock wall rehabilitation at Hallett Dock No. 8.

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The Council adopted a 32-ward voting plan for the city's redistricting effort following the 2010 U.S. Census.

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