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Douglas County Board approves borrowing $7.5 million for roads

Bonding for county highway projects for three years maintains the debt service tax levy after the county paid off other debt.

Road construction
Douglas County will borrow $7.5 million to help fund highway repairs for the next three years.
Contributed / Derek Montgomery
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SUPERIOR — The Douglas County Board approved a plan Thursday, Sept. 15, to borrow $7.5 million to help pay for highway repairs for three years.

The borrowing will fund projects underway this year and over the next two years.

With the county’s debt service tax levy anticipated to drop from almost $4.3 million to $3.1 million and growth in the county’s valuation, the new borrowing wouldn’t change the county’s tax levy for debt service, said Kevin Mullen of Robert W. Baird & Co.

“This is kind of an ongoing borrowing process that the county has embarked on probably for the last five or six years,” said Mullen, the county’s bonding adviser. “We’ve tailored your debt service to maintain steady payments for projects as they generally occur.”

The new borrowing won’t impact the county’s tax levy for the next three years and sets up the county to continue borrowing as needed for highway projects, Mullen said. He said with the county’s Aa2 bond rating, the county is able to get lower interest rates.

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The board voted unanimously by roll call to set the parameters for the bonding and to authorize Administrator Ann Doucette and County Board Chair Mark Liebaert to act on the county’s behalf in selling the bonds.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved opening County Highway B from Degerman Road to Fitch Avenue in Lake Nebagamon to all-terrain and utility-terrain vehicles. The highway must be posted for ATV use before it is legal to ride there.
  • Transferred $40,000 from the county’s contingency fund to the land and development account to pay for cleanup of properties the county took by tax deed. The money will pay the county highway department to do an initial cleanup of a home on County Highway C and Country Acres north and south mobile home parks on County Highway E.
Shelley Nelson is a reporter with the Duluth Media Group since 1997, and has covered Superior and Douglas County communities and government for the Duluth News Tribune from 1999 to 2006, and the Superior Telegram since 2006. Contact her at 715-395-5022 or snelson@superiortelegram.com.
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As reported by Douglas County Circuit Court.
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