By Alyssa Frierson

Members of the Wausau Finance Committee on Tuesday discussed refinancing water and sewer system revenue bonds, along with financing defibrillators and other equipment for the Wausau Fire Department.

The committee voted to refinance existing clean water and sewer systems revenue bond, in the amount of $5.12 million, by borrowing money from the state at a lower interest rate.

Council President Lisa Rasmussen said the move essentially allows the city to refinance short-term debt while waiting to close a loan with the Clean Water Fund.

In 2018, $5 million was issued in revenue bond anticipation notes. At that time, it was estimated that the maturity schedule would be April of 2020, but financial complexity was underestimated for the safe drinking water and clean water fund.

On Tuesday, the committee voted to extend the longevity of the notes so the debt can be refinanced and rolled into long-term financing. The funds for clean and safe drinking water come through state low-interest loan programs with the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Administration.

Several sole-source purchases of equipment for the Wausau Fire Department were also discussed and approved by the committee.

Defibrillators, the first item on the agenda, are budgeted at $149,000. The fire department also presented a $52,462.62 cost estimate for extrication equipment.

In addition, a price proposal for a new base radio station for Fire Station Two, at $149,963,40, came from local Motorola dealer Northway Communications. Fire officials say their goal is to replace the current, sub-par fire department handheld and mobile radio devices with new products, buying from a local dealer when possible. The fire department will apply for an Assistance to Firefighters grant to help defray the cost of these items, but needed city approval before submitting a formal application. That request was approved by the committee.

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