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Selectmen sign $1.2 million bond for Pine Knoll, pump station

July 2, 2014 | Chris Maza

EAST LONGMEADOW – The town completed the bonding process to finance a pair of large projects on June 27, when the Board of Selectmen signed and sent by courier all of the remaining documents needed to receive approximately $1.2 million to fund the Pine Knoll Recreation Area pool renovation and improvements to the pump station on Harkness Avenue.

Town Treasurer Thomas Florence told Reminder Publications the town was able to receive an extremely low interest rate of 0.28 percent.

“The interest rates were very low because the bond market has reached a low point and our financials are in good shape,” he said, pointing out that during the process, the town’s rating was upgraded to AA+ by Standard and Poor’s. “That’s why those upgrades are so important and so beneficial.”

The town is bonding $450,000 for the Pine Knoll project, while $731,082 was received for the pump station upgrade. TD Securities won the bond over four other companies in a bidding process that commenced on June 18, Florence told the board.

The selectmen and Florence faced a slight time crunch. Florence explained that in order to avoid any deficits in the accounting at the end of fiscal year 2014, the transaction would have to be completed by June 30. Citing a lack of time to adequately review the paperwork, the board delayed signing the papers at its June 24 meeting in the interest of due diligence.

Florence said TD Securities sent a courier at their expense on June 27 to expedite the process and  ensure the town would receive the funding by June 30.

Town Accountant Thomas Caliento told the board that the bonding for the projects would be revisited in August or September in an attempt to take advantage of even lower rates.

“It’s a lot like refinancing your home,” he said.

Board of Selectmen Chair Angela Thorpe said she hoped there would be a public event to commemorate the opening of the pool at Pine Knoll “since they are paying this much money for it.”

Residents initially approved a $450,000 expenditure that Recreation Director Colin Drury requested at the Oct. 1, 2012, Special Town Meeting and a separate $350,000 appropriation at the Oct. 21, 2013, Special Town Meeting after the initial budget provided by an outside contractor proved to be too low.

Kurtz Inc. General Contractors of Westfield, the lowest bidder at $687,892, completed the pool project. Drury previously told Reminder Publications that the project was on target with regards to budget.

He said a grand opening event is being planned for sometime in mid-July, after a check on the pool is completed to ensure that all systems are operating properly.

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