published Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Cleveland, Tenn., approves bonds for airport, road projects

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    Ths conceptual digital image shows a proposed airport terminal at night in Bradley County, Tenn.

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CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The Cleveland City Council approved three bond resolutions Monday to finance portions of airport construction, connector roads to a future industrial park and road work near the new Whirlpool site.

A $1.5 million debt financed through the Tennessee Municipal Bond Fund will be used toward an airport terminal at the new Tasso area airport. The variable rate loan will be for 15 years. The airport is expected to be finished by the end of the year. The Cleveland Municipal Airport Authority wants a terminal building ready to open at the same time.

A second debt will be for $1.7 million to help fund local connector roads to a future interchange on APD 40 near exit 20 to Interstate 75. The connector roads will be between Interstate 75 and U.S. Highway 11. The fixed-rate loan will be financed for 20 years through the bond fund.

The Cleveland school board actually will be paying that debt, City Manager Janice Casteel said. The city lent the school system $1.7 million for Arnold Elementary School improvements several years ago. The school board agreed to pay the city's next bonded debt in return, up to $1.7 million.

The third debt of just over $1 million will cover road work for Benton Pike, Durkee Road and Michigan Avenue Road to serve the new Whirlpool plant. It is a variable-rate loan financed through the bond fund for 15 years.

The Whirlpool bond received unanimous approval, but Councilman Bill Estes voted "no" for the airport and connector road bond issues.

"I am for the projects and for the bonding of these," Estes said before the vote, but "I think they need to be bid out."

Estes said there is time to seek bids from other financial institutions on the cost of managing the bond issues. The council always has advocated the bidding process, he said.

The Whirlpool-related bond is different, he said, because of timing issues.

The council also authorized City Manager Janice Casteel and City Clerk Mike Keith to release the city's money today for the Durkee Road project.

"They can't start that project until we do," Casteel said.

Contact Randall Higgins at rhiggins@timesfreepress.com or 423-314-1029.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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