BATH — The City Council gave preliminary approval Wednesday to borrow $1.1 million for work at Waterfront Park and other improvements, and to refinance existing debt from prior bonds.

The council last month accepted a $415,000 bid from Wyman & Simpson to replace a pier and improve banking at Waterfront Park. But it did not approve money for the work. That money, plus $35,000 in contingency funds, is part of the proposed $1.1 million bond.

Also in the package is funding for projects the council has yet to approve, including about $400,000 in improvements to Waterfront Park. The funding could also cover an upgrade to the pedestrian crossing on Vine Street under the viaduct, from the train station to downtown, and downtown parking improvements.

“If we do the borrowing all together, we get a better interest rate,” City Manager Bill Giroux said Wednesday.

The money to repay the bond will come from Bath’s Downtown Tax Increment Financing District, and not from taxes.

The City Council amended the $1.1 bond ordinance twice, first to delete the mention of “other miscellaneous downtown improvements” and then to add in the Vine Street and downtown parking work. The council approved the amended motion by 6-1, with Kyle Rogers in opposition.

The city issued a $4.5 million bond in 1999 for combined sewer overflow abatement and street and sidewalk improvements, and this March borrowed $400,000 bond for sidewalk work around the recently opened downtown Hampton Inn. With $2.43 million remaining in those bonds, Giroux said, the city can now get a better interest rate on that debt, prompting the council to vote unanimously to refinance it.

Giroux said the city should save about $250,000 by refinancing.

The City Council will vote on final passage for both bonding ordinances next month.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or [email protected].

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