Hermiston Council OKs Bond Purchase to Finish City Projects

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The Hermiston City Council and its Urban Renewal Agency voted Monday night to authorize the purchase of $20 million in bonds to pay for the seven city projects.

Those projects, most of which are in various stages of completion, include:

  • The Harkenrider Center: Plans call for building out the basement at a cost of $600,000
  • Finishing Hermiston City Hall’s IT space at a cost of $300,000
  • Library Phase II: Reconfigure the upstairs and finish the downstairs at a cost of $4.5 million
  • Public Safety Center: Renovate the police side, incorporate the former municipal court space and increase space for fire district at a cost of $11.5 million
  • Arc Building remodel at a cost of $$650,000
  • EOTEC Barns Project: Extend two of the three barns (beef and swine), and pave small animal barn at a cost of $1.6 million
  • North Hermiston Urban Renewal Area (NHURA): Build a road connecting North Highway 395 to N.E. Fourth Street with new traffic signal on Highway 395 at a cost of $5 million

City Manager Byron Smith said the barns at the Eastern Oregon Trade & Event Center will be extended to accommodate the growing number of animals at the fair. Paving the small animal barn will allow EOTEC to rent out the barn for RVs, boats and other vehicles during winter.

Smith said two grants came in totaling $1.277 million to help pay for the project. Smith said the fair is seeking additional funding to help close the gap and that the city will contribute.

The NHURA was formed in 2023.

“It was formed for one project – to build a street connection between Highway 395 and N.E. Fourth Street,” Smith said. He added that moving forward with the project will give potential developers certainty as to where the road will be so they can begin planning for future projects.

Smith said the city will borrow $20 million in the form of Full-Faith and Credit Bonds, which are different from a general obligation bond in that a vote by the citizens is not required because no new taxes will be collected.

A total of $5 million of the $20 million will be repaid by the NHURA and the other $15 million will be repaid through Enterprise Zone funds.

The council voted 5-1 to purchase the bonds with Councilor Jackie Linton voting no.

“Hermiston has a lot of growing needs – traffic, public safety, you name it – so I think this package will really be able to prepare us for the future,” said Councilor Roy Barron.

1 COMMENT

  1. There you go again Hermiston City Council digging into debt deeper and deeper with No daylight in sight. What no new taxes on all of this? You know your going to make us pay for this one way or the other. Just like all the times in the past. I think you should take a good hard look at living within your means and Stop spending on top of spending on top of spending
    We tax payers are the ones that really suffer and you all live so high and mighty you dont have a clue. Get a clue and please Stop overspending.

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