The Islip Town Board approved funding for $26.5 million in capital projects, with improvements slated for roads, facilities and ballfields throughout the town.
The board unanimously voted on March 20 to issue several bonds, including $8.5 million for road improvements, $3 million for pool enhancements, $2 million for marina and bulkhead upgrades and $1.5 million for parking lot repairs.
Town officials plan to use the funds to address quality of life issues and assess infrastructure townwide, “with the intention of being as equitable as possible, starting with Brentwood,” spokeswoman Caroline Smith said.
Projects include fixing sidewalks and parking lots that have deteriorated over the years, dealing with drainage issues in low-lying areas that are prone to flooding and rehabilitating the Bay Shore Marina bulkhead, she said.
Bonds will also fund $1.1 million in improvements to ballfields and playgrounds, $2.25 million for the acquisition of heavy-duty equipment and $5.9 million for various immediate needs, including equipment acquisition and repair.
Officials issue bonds under general categories so that they can more easily pay for improvements as needed, officials said. Bonding for specific projects means the money can be spent only on those ventures and that any leftover money would go wasted, town Comptroller Joseph Ludwig said.
“It’s intended to give us the most amount of flexibility, so we don’t have to take on debt we don’t need,” Ludwig said.
Projects will be approved throughout the year.
Supervisor Angie Carpenter said at the March 20 board meeting that officials wanted to approve the bonds before the U.S. Federal Reserve announced it would increase interest rates, which it did a day later, hiking the rate from 1.5 to 1.75 percent.
Ludwig estimated that the early bonding saved the town about $1 million over the life of the bonds, which the town typically pays off in 15 years. The town also gets an “attractive” interest rate because of its Moody’s Investors Service Aaa bond rating, he said.
Last year, the town sold about $30 million in bonds for capital projects, Ludwig said.
The town had about $130 million in outstanding debt at the end of 2017 and expects to spend $21 million in debt service in 2018, according to bond documents.
Ludwig said the bonds will likely be issued in mid-May.