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City's year-end surplus will be used to tackle debt for Preston Aud expansion

City's year-end surpluses in operating costs and water and wastewater exceeded $3.3 million
Ball Construction has been contracted to build a new rink and substantially expand the Preston Memorial Auditorium at a projected cost of $28.8 million.

City council voted Tuesday to dedicate more than $1.3 million from a year-end operating surplus to writing off some of the debt the city has taken on to expand the Preston Memorial Auditorium.

Coun. Helen Shwery requested the amendment to a motion on how a tax-supported operating surplus of more than $2.1 million should be allocated and staff and council supported it.

Allocating part of the savings to pay off debt for the $33 million aud expansion project will result in a savings of $822,000 in interest payments, she said.

Mayor Jan Liggett commended Shwery for the recommendation that came after consulting staff on the possibility.

"She sought out staff to find out where some monies could be played with and her reasoning behind the Preston Auditorium was an excellent reasoning," she said.

The remaining surplus will go to the city's election reserve to the tune of $251,700, with $500,000 going to the self insurance reserve.

A water surplus of $1.1 million will be divided equally between the city's water rate stabilization reserve fund and water capital reserve. A wastewater surplus of $754,660 will be transferred to the wastewater capital reserve.

Shwery said she was ecstatic to see the various surpluses presented in a year-end operating update, specifically the water and wastewater tax-supported budget.

"I thank staff with being frugal with taxpayer dollars," she said in presenting her amendment.

An Idea Exchange surplus in the amount of $194,728 will be transferred to the facility capital library reserve in the amount of $115,000. The library rate stabilization reserve will get $55,000 and the library furniture and equipment reserve fund will get $24,728, as recommended by the Cambridge public library board.