Village Council Looks to Refinance Existing Debt

Kalamzoo County Treasurer Mary Balkema toured the Mill of South County last spring.
Kalamzoo County Treasurer Mary Balkema toured
the Mill of South County last spring.

By Sue Moore

Windows have been boarded up, signs posted to keep off and fencing has gone up on The Mill of South County by the Land Bank, which owns 9/10ths of the property, according to Kalamazoo County Treasurer Mary Balkema.

The Land Bank is considering demolition of some parts of the mill and removal of hazardous waste in the near future.

The Vicksburg Village Council was updated on the progress of negotiations to acquire the last portion of the property which is still owned by the Chicago developers. “It’s all in the hands of the lawyers,” right now, according to Bill Adams, village president.

Adams also gave the Council an infrastructure financing update on the amount of bonding the village can afford, vs. what the state will currently allow. In the strategic plan, Adams accepted the responsibility of refinancing much of the debt load the village has now and has been working with bonding companies and the state treasury department to resolve the issues before any new bonds can be sold. The goal is to refinance 3.7 million of debt which now has an average 6 percent interest rate, to something less than 1 percent, save the village a heap of money and get the total debt down to less than 2 percent of the entire budget.

A small bump in the process has been the state asking for a deficit reduction plan before this can take place. A letter was written to the state with a plan set out that wasn’t accepted on the first run through according to Tracy Locey, the village clerk. She has submitted a second letter with an updated plan and expects this to come back with a qualified approval sometime soon. Margaret O’Brian, state representative for the 64th district which Vicksburg is in, has been interceding for the village, with a meeting scheduled in October to iron out any differences, she said.

A new 425 agreement with Brady Township is also in the works with strict timelines set to get this done before it expires altogether at the end of October.

The police contract with the chief was debated in closed session with no decision forthcoming at this time.

Designated parking spaces for South County Community Services Metro van for Prairie Street was considered with a request for two spaces rather than one by Danna Downing, executive director.

No action was taken as she was asked to come back with a new proposal for the October meeting.

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