Mountain View Voice

News - May 27, 2011

Shoreline Community takes on $26.5 million in new debt

by Daniel DeBolt

To pay for new Shoreline area ball fields, pedestrian overpasses and a fire station, the City Council approved the issuance of $26.5 million in new bonds Tuesday, extending Shoreline debt payments another 29 years.

Paying off the new bonds will cost the Shoreline Community, an authority headed by the City Council, an estimated $58.5 million over 29 years, said Patty Kong, finance director. Payments estimated at $2 million a year will add to Shoreline's $19 million in ongoing annual expenses used largely to maintain Shoreline Park and the surrounding business park that's home to Google.

Resident Steve Nelson spoke in opposition to the bonds and threatened a lawsuit sometime "in the next 25 years" over the Shoreline tax district's diversion of property tax revenue from local schools. The city reached an agreement with Mountain View school districts in February to give them a larger share of Shoreline's property tax revenue, $13.6 million over three years. Despite the fact that the new debt may make it harder to share the tax revenue with schools, city staff said school officials support the new bonds.

Nelson also pointed out that the city has already paid for much of the new Shoreline area fire station, the costs of which would be covered by the bond. City staff said that would allow the use of the funds previously allocated to the fire station for "other purposes."

The council did not respond to Nelson's request to reduce the bond amount in light of this and had little comment before the unanimous vote.

According to 2010 estimates, the bond will provide $9 million for new soccer and baseball fields on a former landfill along Garcia Avenue, $10 million for the new fire station under construction across the street from Shoreline Amphitheatre and $4 million for a crossing for the Permanente Creek Trail over Highway 101.

How quickly the bonds will be paid off depends on a fluctuating interest rate for municipal bonds, which will rise if investors are not interested in purchasing them and increase the city's payments, Kong said. City staff estimate that the average interest rate will not exceed 7 percent.

E-mail Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com

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