Overall Survey Results:

INDIAN LAKE BOROUGH Budget/Finance Survey

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We began planning to upgrade the dam nearly 20 years ago.  We evaluated many concepts and designs by a number of engineers before narrowing them down and estimating the staggering costs, some in excess of $10M. In 2007 a 3-Phased approach was selected and a referendum was passed permitting a debt limit of $7M.  Between 2007 and 2012 our Borough tax millage rate more than tripled to accommodate and 'stay ahead' of this monstrous debt load.  All 3 Phases came in just under budget at $6.5M.  With the phased approach and the creativity of bond counsel and local banks (STC and 1st  Summit), we were able to avoid bonds and obtained very flexible low interest loans instead.  Having planned for the long term fixed bonds of higher interest, our proactive tax increases/revenues allowed us to pay the loans down aggressively and still accumulate cash reserves.  Based on these reserves we gave ourselves a break and lowered taxes 3 mils for 2018. This summer we more fully reassessed the big picture and using some of our cash reserves, paid off one loan and paid-down and restructured the other.  This debt restructuring will further diminish our ongoing interest expense; a downward spiral - but in a good direction...Throughout this Survey we will be addressing Debt and Debt Paydown/Payoff, Budgets and Operating Expenses, and the Taxes consequences necessary to accomplish each.  One extreme is to keep millage at 16.3, pay off the remaining loan (become debt-free) in 3-5 years [MaxTax].  The other extreme is to allow the remaining debt to stretch out for 30 years but lower taxes by another 7-9 mils over the near term, starting in 2019 [MinTax].  There are endless possibilities in between, such as lowering taxes by another 4 mils and extending loan payoff to 9-10 years [MidTax].
1Required Do you favor the MaxTax, the MidTax or the MinTax approach?
Number of
MaxTax - Pay off the loan quickly and be done with it.
43 19.3%
MidTax - Let's give ourselves a tax break but not let the debt linger past 10 years
103 46.3%
MinTax - We've been paying high taxes long enough, let future generations or homeowners share the dam expense...
70 31.5%
6 2.7%
No Responses

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