By Mike Kruzman & Jon King /

City of Brighton officials have authorized capital improvement bonds that will fund several categories of street and utility projects starting later this year, and then continuing over a three-year period.

At City Council’s online meeting, held Thursday night, City Council members approved the authorization of bonds for an amount not to exceed $18-million. Five major projects were identified; the Northwest Neighborhoods Streets project, Rickett Road Phase 2, water utilities, wastewater utilities, and capital reserve projects that include replacing the police department and DPW drive and lot. The total cost of the bond program is just over $17.4-million.

Brighton City Manager Nate Geinzer said that one good thing about this program is that it still leaves the City room to do additional projects as they may be needed. He told Council, “This bond is not going to tie our hands and keep us from making additional capital commitments. We’ve tried to work with City Council over the years to set you up with a budget that allows you to sustain investment in capital… This does not hurt your ability to fund additional capital.”

During the drafting process there was some concern about “what-ifs” and emergencies, but Geinzer said City Council has that covered by the ability to move to different capital uses as long as they are consistent with the resolution passed. City Council also elected to add a 10% contingency into each of the 5 projects. Geinzer added that municipal bonds are historically low at this point, and they are expecting rates below 2%.

The capital reserve and Rickett Road bonds mature in 10 years; Northwest Neighborhoods in 12; and the utilities in 15.

City Council approved the motion unanimously.

The bond sale is expected to begin in early February and end in late February, with the City receiving the proceeds in March.