Dianne McNabb, director of Public Financial Management Inc., the financial adviser the council hired for $15,000, recommended the restructuring in a Wednesday letter to City Manager Bill Bruton. And in a Thursday letter to city attorney Doug Haynie, Matthew Nichols of Atlanta-based Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan said the proposal was constitutional.
Mayor Bill Dunaway has called a special meeting for this morning, during which he wants the council to approve the restructuring proposal.
But not so fast, said Councilman Grif Chalfant.
"I am hopeful this would be a meeting to go over the reports giving us time to evaluate the reports, formulate any questions and receive any answers to our questions by the meetings next week," Chalfant wrote in a Thursday e-mail to the City Council.
"I am also hopeful this is not an attempt to try to get us to vote without time to discuss and evaluate the reports from our highly paid advisor and attorney. I am not trying to stall, we have the two meetings set up next week and three or four days is not going to make or break this issue," Chalfant wrote.
But Dunaway is insisting on a vote this morning.
"We have now been delayed for four weeks and at a considerable extra expense and risk for the city," Dunaway wrote back. "...After four long weeks, everyone should take the individual responsibility of having their personal questions answered."
The refinancing proposal would restructure the debt on the city's hotel and conference center by paying off the outstanding $29 million bond debt that is currently set at a variable interest rate and issue new revenue bonds with a fixed rate. The reason for the refinancing proposal comes from the crash of 2008, which caused a meltdown in the municipal bond market. This put the city in the position of paying a debt service on the conference center bonds that was higher than the fixed lease payments it received from the firm that manages the conference center, Dallas-based Remington Hospitality.