The city of Brookhaven plans to issue $3.35 million in bonds to pay for two major intersection improvements this year. The bonds and interest will be paid off using special local option sales tax dollars.
The City Council approved the bond issuance at its April 23 meeting to pay for intersection improvements at Ashford-Dunwoody Road and Peachtree Road and to construct a roundabout at Windsor Parkway and Osborne Road. The roundabout is estimated to cost $1.85 million and the Ashford-Dunwoody/Peachtree project is estimated at $1.5 million.
Assistant City Manager and CFO Steve Chapman said in an interview the city is essentially going to take out a three-year loan to pay for the projects. The council had agreed at its retreat in February that short-term financing was appropriate to pay for some infrastructure projects, Chapman said.
“To get these big projects done we anticipate we have to do some short-term financing,” he said.
“Anything a city does is a bond, but this is more like a short-term note,” Chapman said. “It’s a loan, for 36 months.”
Because these are transportation projects, the debt can be paid off using SPLOST dollars that come in over the next four or five years, he said. DeKalb County voters approved a six-year SPLOST in 2017; Brookhaven is expected to receive approximately $47 million over the six years.
“It’s less expensive to do it this way,” Chapman said of issuing bonds.
Bonds are a way for cities to raise money to pay for city projects by selling debt to investors. The city then pays investors back after the projects are finished through taxation or, in this case, from SPLOST proceeds.
What the interest will be on the bond issuance is not known yet, Chapman said. Design and engineering for the intersection projects are still being finalized and there is no date yet for issuing requests for proposals. But both projects are expected to begin this year.
The city last year approved issuing $12 million in general obligation bonds to be paid off over five years to go toward construction of the new $15 million public safety headquarters to be built overlooking the Peachtree Creek Greenway. The city bid out that bond and received a 2.75 percent interest rate. That was the city’s first time issuing a general obligation bond.
The council recently approved more than $1.2 million for the purchase of right of way for the roundabout now underway. Right of way purchases for the Ashford-Dunwoody and Peachtree road intersection project are also taking place.
The Ashford-Dunwoody/Peachtree project includes extending a right-turn lane on southbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road to Sanctuary at Oglethorpe apartments and converting a right-turn lane from Ashford-Dunwoody Road to southbound Peachtree Road into a barrier-separated free-flow lane. The free-flow lane will be controlled by a right-turn arrow signal with pedestrian activated push button to facilitate safe crossing across Ashford-Dunwoody Road.
The intersection project also includes installing a dedicated right-turn lane on southbound Peachtree Road at Ashford-Dunwoody Road and the installation of a 10-foot-wide multiuse path on the east side of Ashford-Dunwoody Road with a 5-foot-wide planted buffer and a 5-foot-wide sidewalk on the west side of Ashford-Dunwoody Rod with a 2-foot-wide wide grass strip.
This story has been updated to clarify that the city is not issuing “general obligation” bonds for the intersection projects.