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County votes to bypass debt limit

Staff writer

Unless residents petition to seek a referendum on the question, Marion County soon will be able to bypass state limits on borrowing.

County commissioners voted Monday to pass a charter resolution bypassing state law limiting how much bond debt the county can incur.

Dave Arteberry of Stifel, Nicolaus and Co., and Mitch Walter, a lawyer with Gilmore Bell in Wichita, told commission members the resolution, written by Walter, would need to be published in the newspaper twice. After that, a 60-day protest period would begin.

If a petition signed by 10% of the number of voters in November’s election is received, the county would be required to submit the question to voters in a binding referendum.

County clerk Tina Spencer said she was researching the number of signatures that would be required.

Arteberry said he could begin researching bonds after the resolution was published so commissioners would be poised to issue them soon after the protest period expires.

Walter said his resolution had been effective in other counties.

“We have provided this to numerous other counties to help them pass bond issues,” Walter said. “It is effective on a simple majority vote.”

Commissioner Kent Becker said with interest rates starting to rise, time was of the essence.

“When you’re talking big bucks, a 1% increase is substantial,” he said.

Bonds are sought to finance $5 million for work on Indigo Rd. south of Hillsboro, Kanza Rd. from US-56 to Ag Service, and 190th Rd. from K-256 to Hillsboro.

Arteberry told commissioners a week ago that counties and cities were allowed to use the maneuver to issue bonds for secondary arterial highways as long as the bonds do not exceed 2% of the county’s assessed valuation.

Last modified Feb. 17, 2022

 

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