Council approves safety net for water meter project bills

October 3, 2018

DIXON – The City Council hasn’t finalized a decision to pursue different funding for its $3 million water meter project, but members took steps to make sure they could include bills that already were paid.

The city recently started a $3 million project to replace and upgrade all of its water meters and planned to lend itself the money from reserves and pay it back across 10 years at 1 percent interest rather than paying more in interest through a bank loan.

The council is considering changing plans and borrowing the funds through bonds or a bank loan to keep the $3 million in reserves freed up for possible future projects or pension payments.

About $500,000 already has been paid toward the project, and the council approved a declaration of intent to reimburse those funds Monday through a bank loan or bonds.

There are limitations on how far back expenses can be included prior to bond financing, so the declaration gives the city 2 months of wiggle room as a place holder until the council makes a decision either way.

One of the possible uses for the money is to bring the city’s fire pension fund above the $10 million mark to have more investing options, which could mean higher returns.

It could be a gamble to do that depending on the market, and they might be better off upping their annual contributions to the pension funds instead until the state reforms the public safety pension system, Mayor Li Arellano Jr. said.

They shouldn’t get their hopes up about the state reforming the system anytime soon, Councilman Ryan Marshall said.

“I think we’re going to need to free up the cash,” he said.

For several months, City Manager Danny Langloss has told the council that he’s working on a pension plan to be revealed sometime in the future.

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