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Langley council approves $750K in bonds

Cars line the road on Second Street, facing east in Langley. Starting in January 2014, major work will begin on a redesign that is expected to last until May.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Cars line the road on Second Street, facing east in Langley. Starting in January 2014, major work will begin on a redesign that is expected to last until May.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

Langley found the rest of its money to pay for the nearly $2.1 million Second Street redesign, this week.

On Monday, the Langley City Council unanimously approved a measure to seek $750,000 in councilmanic bonds.

The city’s annual debt service of about $32,000, which paid for remodels of the Langley Library and City Hall, is set to expire at the end of the year.

Langley also secured about $1.4 million in grant funds to pay for the sweeping changes designed to create a more vibrant shopping and tourism experience on Second Street.

“This is a good vehicle for funding this much-needed project in Langley. Second Street has the most potential out of all of our economic projects for the most return,” said Mayor Fred McCarthy.

“Rather than taxing people more on their property, this is a form of non-voted debt. We are confident we have the capacity to pay for it within the general operating budget.”

On a 20-year payment plan, Langley will annually pay an estimated $59,683 for the bonds. McCarthy said the interest rate was estimated at 4.03 percent and the bonds would be sold by Seattle-based D.A. Davidson and Company.

Work on Second Street is tentatively scheduled to begin in January 2014 and end in May, well before the busy tourism season starts on South Whidbey.

Weather conditions could easily delay the work, McCarthy said, especially on street design. Minimizing the project’s impact on businesses was a major concern for the city, so the redesign will occur in phases that the mayor, planning director and public works director are scheduling.

Council support was quickly behind seeking $750,000 in bonds because of fears the interest rate would rise.

“The sooner we do something, the better,” Councilman Hal Seligson said. Ben Watanabe  / The Record | Visitors cross Second Street on Friday, Aug. 9. Crosswalks may have elevated pavers with designs next year with the $2.1 million redesign.

Major work projects abound in Langley, which the city doesn’t have the funds to tackle. The hope is costs will decrease after the project begins, freeing up money for a new staircase from Boy and Dog Park down to Seawall Park, new siding and paint at the public restrooms near Langley Village and the Langley Chamber of Commerce building, and landslide mitigation.

All of that, estimated by the mayor to cost about $200,000, will only happen if money can be found from savings in the Second Street project.

“There was a time we thought we wouldn’t need as much for the Second Street project,” McCarthy said. “We want to make sure Second Street gets done right. We’re going to do that project first.”

City leaders already cut costs by abandoning plans to underground the utilities along Second Street, from Cascade Avenue to Anthes Avenue.

Discussion during the council’s bonding workshop Aug. 5 also included the estimated $110,000 difference in cost between the use of pavers on Second Street compared to less expensive stamped concrete.

Issues remained about the durability of stamped concrete and the cost of replacing a section should it crack, which was raised by Langley’s newly hired public works director, Maria Cablao.

 

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