By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Mac councilors approve bypass loan

McMinnville city councilors unanimously approved the basic terms of a loan from the state Transportation Infrastructure Bank on Tuesday, although the interest rate will not be finalized until the loan closes.

The loan, for McMinnville’s portion of the first phase of the Newberg-Dundee bypass, is for $3.2 million. Annual payments are expected to run $202,981 for 20 years, based on an estimated interest rate of 2.35 percent.

City Manager Kent Taylor said the city could still opt for a 15-year repayment period instead. That would make the payments larger, but the overall cost smaller.

The council also discussed a proposed room tax it has been considering for several months.

State law requires that 70 percent of  the proceeds be applied to tourism-related projects. Councilor Scott Hill asked the staff to determine whether development of a new fixed base facility at the airport would qualify.

The city has long acknowledged the need for a new FBO. Federal grant money might be available, but the city would have to supply a local match.

Airport advocates argue that good airport facilities draw tourists. If room tax proceeds could be used to help meet that need, that would be a plus, Hill said.

The council also heard a review of an ordinance imposing reporting requirements on second-hand merchants to deter fencing of stolen goods.

One merchant testified she has had trouble getting officers to return phone calls promptly.

Capt. Dennis Marks asked her to let one of the captains know if happens again. He promised to remedy the problem.

Based on the largely positive review, the council unanimously lifted the sunset clause it had included initially. In other action, they unanimously approved vacation of an undeveloped portion of Walnut Street between Cedarwood and Drumwood avenues.

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