Funds to pay for new visitors center and riverfront project

The funding of the Hannibal riverfront renovation and construction of a new visitors center progressed Tuesday night when the Hannibal City Council gave first reading to the issuance of up to $7.2 million worth of leasehold revenue bonds.

City Manager Jeff LaGarce said the leasehold revenue bonds are essentially a lease to be repaid with annual appropriations. In this instance, the repayment will come from money in the city's general fund, along with cash from the parks and tourism departments.

The issuance of leasehold revenue bonds requires there be a “leased asset” to serve as collateral. The city's police station will serve as the leased asset, "representing the city's collateral," LaGarce said.

The total principal to be issued for the projects will not exceed $7.2 million over 23 years. LaGarce said in reality, the amount will probably be $6.7 million with a repayment period of 20 years.

Final reading will occur at the council's Tuesday, Nov. 6, meeting. The actual bond closing is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 14.

"While important, this bond issue is only a means to an end,” LaGarce said. “The 'end' is having the capital to renovate the Hannibal riverfront and construct a modern, state-of-the-art visitors center that will each be enjoyed for many years to come."

A resolution was also approved to accept the bond underwriting firm of Stifel Nicolaus and acknowledges all required underwriting disclosures.