By a unanimous 7-0 vote Monday night, the Falls Church City Council authorized the sale ahead of its original schedule of all the remaining bonds it’s approved to cover a total of $126 million in capital improvements in an effort to take advantage of uncommonly low interest rates now. The move, according to the City’s Chief Financial Officer Kiran Bawa will save the City $10 million in debt service over the 30-year repayment terms on the debt over its earlier projection.
The new policy authorizes the sale of all the remaining bonds in early November, instead of in two tranches extended over the coming year. While some on the Council expressed concern for the risk the move entails, they concurred that taking advantage of record low interest rates now was prudent, in fact, as Council member David Snyder said, the Council could be faulted for failing to take advantage of the situation now.
The bond sale, which citizens of Falls Church approved by a wide margin in a November 2017 referendum, will fund the construction of a new George Mason High School campus, already begun, the renovation and expansion of the Mary Riley Styles Public Library, the City Hall expansion and renovation, sewer and stormwater mitigation improvements and a plethora of other capital programs.
In another move at Monday’s meeting, the Council’s first since the conclusion of its summer recess, the Council required little deliberation to approve the City Planning Staff recommendation to name the new downtown pocket park in the 100 block of West Broad “Mr. Brown’s Park,” in honor of the three generations of Brown family ownership of the hardware store in the same block for over 100 years. The name was the overwhelming choice of informal citizen balloting on the subject over the summer.