Hempfield supervisors plan to issue bonds to pay for aggressive infrastructure plan – TribLIVE

Hempfield supervisors plan to use up to $33 million in bonds to complete capital projects in 2022.

The plan, unanimously approved this week by supervisors, includes refinancing a 2015 bond — which could save the township $130,000.

“It’s a positive vote,” said George Reese, supervisors chairman. “It’s going to be an exciting time for the next two, three years in Hempfield. A lot of these projects that we all think about, talk about, a lot of times whether it goes forward or not is based on whether we can afford it or the funding’s available.”

While supervisors have the opportunity to borrow up to $33 million, the total will likely range between $28 million and $29 million.

The majority of the money will be used for capital projects related to infrastructure. Those projects could include repairing bridges, dealing with stormwater runoff, paving and more. In addition, money could be used for upgrades to recreation and fire facilities and to fund future projects on 43 acres the township bought from Excela Health this year.

Discussion about capital projects will take place in January.

“We’re going to get moving,” Reese said. “The first quarter of this year we’re going to start doing things, and people are going to be hearing us talk about it and implementing these projects because the funding is there now. This is some real time for some changes.”

Along with refinancing the 2015 bond, township leaders will also pay off the debt service of a 2018 bond totaling $3.5 million, according to Township Manager Jason Winters.

Over the next 15 years, the township will dedicate $2.2 million to bond payments, Winters said. The money is a combination of $700,000 that is already being paid on debt each year and $1.5 million paid by the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County for the 2016 sale of the township’s sewage authority.

In 2016, the county authority agreed to pay the township $5 million upfront and $1.5 million a year for the next 20 years. At the time, the $1.5 million was used in the general budget. Now, there are 15 years left in the agreement. When it ends, the township’s debt payment will return to $700,000 for the remainder of the bond issue, Winters said.

“We have a dedicated revenue stream to be able to pay the bond,” said Supervisor Tom Logan.

The decision to move forward with the bond came after township supervisors approved an almost $15.1 million budget that does not raise taxes for the 32nd consecutive year.

“You couldn’t pass up where interest rates are now, and we’re able to do this without raising taxes one bit,” Winters said. “We’re doing this primarily from money we had set aside for debt payments and the money we get from the sale of the sewage authority.”

Rates for the bond are not yet known. The bonds will be sold in January.

Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, mtomasic@triblive.com or via Twitter .