New Public Library Facilities Planned for Yuma, Ariz.

Feb. 7--The Yuma County Board of Supervisors on Monday unanimously approved selling the first $10 million portion of the $53.7 million voter-approved bond issue to expand the county's library system.

The bonds, which are slated to go on sale on Feb. 22, will pay for the construction of a new Foothills branch, technology upgrades at the Roll and Dateland branches and they will pay for the design and for the land for a new main library in the southwest portion of the city of Yuma.

The county will put the remaining portion of the bonds up for sale in 2007 and in 2008. The sale of those bonds will pay for renovation of the existing library, construction of a new San Luis branch, expansion of the Wellton and Somerton branches and construction of a new main Yuma library.

In late January, New York-based Fitch Ratings gave the $10 million bonds an "A+" rating and two other New York-based credit rating firms upgraded their overall credit ratings of the county.

Standard & Poor's gave the county an "A-," up from "BBB+" and Moody's raised their rating of the county from "BAA1" to "A3."

The higher ratings mean taxpayers will save millions of dollars in interest payments on the library bonds once those bonds are sold, county officials said.

Voters in November approved the library bond, which is the first such improvement to the county library system since 1965.

In other news, supervisors unanimously voted to approve a $2 million plan to build a 2.2 mile roadway that will link to the yet-to-be built Robert A. Vaughn Expressway and a planned new commercial port of entry in San Luis.

The project consists of a two-lane road with a raised median to extend from County 23rd Street to the site where the proposed San Luis II commercial port is slated to be built, about five miles east of the existing U.S. Port of Entry in San Luis, Ariz.

The expressway, commonly referred to as the Area Service Highway or ASH, is a proposed four-lane highway that would connect Interstate 8 at the Araby Road interchange to San Luis II.

The Arizona Department of Transportation is slated to build the expressway once they have obtained all

environmental clearances.

Also during the meeting supervisors unanimously reappointed William R. Esmeier and appointed Steve Meinhardt to serve as members-at-large of the county employee benefits board of trustees. The position is for a three-year term.

In other news, County Administrator David Garcia announced Scott Holt as the county's new financial services director.

Prior to accepting the position here, Holt served as finance director for the Kenai Peninsula Borough in Alaska. Holt replaces Doug Allen who left to become finance director for the city of Buckeye in 2005.

<<The Sun (Yuma, AZ)(KRT) -- 02/08/06>>