The Macon Water Authority launched a new era of leadership Thursday when Kirby Godsey was sworn in to fill the chairmans shoes of his friend Frank Amerson, who died in September after holding the chairmans post 35 years.
I think our highest tribute to Frank will be to carry on the good work to which he was so fully committed, said Godsey, a former president of Mercer University.
Godsey was sworn in Thursday by Probate Judge William Self, who appointed Godsey on an MWA recommendation. Godsey will serve until after the elections in 2013. He said he wouldnt run for the job.
He also said he planned to donate any compensation -- $650 a month -- to Amerson River Park and the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail that connects to it.
Godsey had the authoritys board moving on business just 3 minutes after Godsey began speaking. In the biggest action, the board voted 6-0, with member Bert Bivins absent, to issue $10 million in bonds to upgrade the water and sewer systems.
Those bonds were part of a package of up to $50 million authorized two years ago, authority Executive Director Tony Rojas said.
Bond consultant David Lucas, a senior vice president at Stern Agee who is not related to a politician by the same name, said the authoritys strong credit ratings leave it in line to get variable interest rates of about 0.21 percent -- a tiny fraction of long-term fixed-rate bonds that would have cost about 3.5 percent, he said. The new bonds would mature in the next 15 to 20 years.
Rojas reported that the authority already has issued $32 million of the $50 million in authorized bonds. After the newest bonds are sold, likely next week, it could still issue another $8 million. The bond money will be used to continue improving the water and sewer systems, Rojas said.
Such improvements rarely come cheaply. Rojas told board members Thursday that the authority should do better than its budget by about $2 million, but he noted the authority already is looking at two projects that each would cost more than that.
Lucas said hes been told the authoritys two credit ratings agencies will continue the same rating for the water authority: Aa1 for Moodys, and a long-term AA and short-term A-1+ with Standard & Poors.