City gets ‘very good’ rate in $3.4M bond sale

By Stuart R. Wahlin
Staff Writer

Rockford aldermen unanimously confirmed the sale and authorized the issuance of $3.4 million in general obligations bonds during the July 26 meeting. The bonds are to defray the cost of the city’s ongoing $75 million water system rehabilitation project. According to city Finance Director Andres Sammul, the bond issuance marks the final financing installment required for the upgrades.

The city’s bond counsel, Kevin McKenna, of Spear Financial, reported the morning’s Internet bond sale had yielded five bids, the lowest of which was by Nashville, Tenn.-based Sterne, Agee & Leach, Inc., with offices in Chicago, for an interest rate of 3.6691 percent. The highest bid received offered a rate of 4.5873 percent.

“It was very strong bidding,” McKenna indicated. “I think the rate was very good. For whatever reason, we timed it very well. There was a housing report this morning that indicated that things are looking up in terms of resale of houses, and the market was very strong this morning.”

Sammul noted Moody’s Investors’ Service downgraded the city’s bond rating from Aa2 to Aa3.

Banned speaker says he’s not going away

Jim Buckingham, a frequent public speaker at council meetings who was banned for one year by Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) a week prior, carried an American flag as he paced the sidewalk outside of City Hall in protest. Morrissey said he felt physically threatened by remarks Buckingham made during the July 12 meeting. (See “Silenced—public speaker barred from City Hall” in the July 21-27 issue.)

In particular, Morrissey took exception to Buckingham’s comment that the mayor had been placed on his “domestic enemies list.”

Referring to the oath he swore when he joined the Army in 1980, Buckingham argued, “He’s not doing things in our best interest,” specifically with regard to the mayor’s proposed cuts in public safety.

Buckingham said he will continue to demonstrate outside of City Hall during council meetings, and that he’s considering legal options to challenge the mayor’s action against him.

Per the notice of trespass that Buckingham was issued by city Legal Director Patrick Hayes July 19, Buckingham could be charged with a misdemeanor for setting foot on City Hall property, despite the fact State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato (D) determined no criminal charges were warranted after Buckingham’s July 12 comments.


→ Authorizing the sale of a city-owned vacant lot at 617 Fisher Ave. for a minimum bid of $550. Ald. Linda McNeely (D-13), who has indicated the starting bid is too low, voted “no.”

→ Approving the Human Services Department’s lease of office space in the county-owned City Plaza at 555 N. Court St.

Committee reports

→ Awarding an $18,341.94 bid to Freeport Metal Specialties for repair of a street-patching truck.

→ Awarding a $169,976.91 to Northern Illinois Service Co. for drainage improvements in the Sixth Ward.

→ Awarding a $266,072 bid to Norwest Construction, of South Beloit, for various street repairs.

→ Amending a professional services contract for environmental site assessment with Fehr-Graham & Associates to include up to $75,000 in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant funds.

→ Amending a professional services contract with Tetra Tech EM, Inc., based in Pasadena, Calif., to include up to $75,000 in U.S. EPA grant funds for site assessment in the West State Street corridor.

Public comments

Prophet Yusef offered a number of suggestions for bringing manufacturing back to Rockford, including lower taxes, energy, workers’ compensation, liability and health insurance and costs, as well as looser regulations and more aggressive incentives.


The week of July 26 was proclaimed Rockford Airfest 2010 Week and ArtsPlace Emerging Artist Week.


Aldermen Frank Beach (R-10) and John Beck (R-12) were absent.

From the July 28-Aug 3, 2010 issue

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