Queenstown schedules public hearing for bond issue
QUEENSTOWN — The town commissioners will hold a public hearing on an ordinance that allows the municipality to issue a bond, not to exceed $350,000, to finish the construction of the wastewater treatment plant, which is currently operating.
The public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, at the town office, 7013 Main Street, Queenstown. Town commissioners may or may not act on the ordinance at that time. They are scheduled for a regular meeting the night of the hearing.
If approved, the bond will pay for a loan the town would take out from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for up to $350,000. According to the ordinance, the money is needed “due to cost overruns.”
Town Clerk Amy Moore said the roof on one building was re-done and an old building was torn down and replaced, causing the need for the additional funds.
The town has a long history of borrowing money for the project. On Jan. 22, 2014, the town enacted an ordinance, which authorized, among other things, an interim line of credit loan from Queenstown Bank for a maximum amount of $7.39 million to finance and refinance a portion of the costs of the project.
On Jan. 13, 2016, the town repaid the interim loan with, among other available funds, with proceeds from three loans made to the town by the federal government in the amounts of two $2.13 million loans and $621,000 loan.
In a related development, the Baltimore law firm of McKennon, Shelton and Henn LLP was named to represent the town as a bond counsel in connection another with the town’s wastewater treatment facility.
The firm has assigned an hourly billing rate for each attorney and paralegal for this issue. The assigned hourly rate for law partners is $325, $225 for associates, and $125 for paralegals, according to a letter from the firm.
“We anticipate that our total fees for the issuance and closing with respect to the 2017 USDA obligation will not exceed $4,500. Our fees will not exceed this limit without [the town government’s] consent,” said the letter.
“These estimates are based upon the customary requirements for USDA loans and the current hourly rates set forth above,” the letter said.
Out-of-pocket expenses and disbursements will be paid by the town government in addition to the payment of the legal fees. The firm does not require a retainer in this matter at this time, the letter said.
Funding for the final construction of the Queenstown Wastewater Treatment Plant (pictured) will be the subject of public hearing on March 22.