With what looks like the worst of the pandemic over, and with a return to normal economic times in the forecast, the City of Calistoga is beginning — again — to look at finance options to purchase the Napa County Fairgrounds.
The deal was nearly inked in April last year when the economic fallout from the pandemic crashed the bond market, and the city’s financial outlook took a dive.
At the city council’s July 20 meeting, several options were presented by Urban Futures, the same firm that worked with the city on securing bonds for the purchase last August. The city is not making any decisions at this time, but starting the process for analysis, Mayor Chris Canning emphasized.
In August 2019, the city reached an agreement with the county to purchase 34.3 acres of the fairgrounds property for $7.2 million, after more than two years of negotiations. In April 2020, however, the city and the county amicably agreed that the transaction should not move forward at that time.
Though the city has to basically start over with the financing and restart negotiations with the county, “We’re not starting from zero, but there could be modifications of original agreements with the county,” Canning said.
The city again has a very strong credit rating, and though the bond market fluctuates, it is near historical lows, at about a 3% interest rate, Urban’s representatives said.
City councilmembers will now take some time to look over the presentation, research which bonds are available, weigh the pros and cons, and come back at a later date with questions for discussion.
You can reach Cynthia Sweeney at 942-4035 or email@example.com.