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City May Float Bond for Construction

Would Fund School Renovations

By William E. Mckibben

Cambridge city manager James L. Sullivan told the City Council last night that he would ask it to approve a bond issue later this month to fund school and hospital renovations, but added that he would not actually float the bond until the "market had gotten over Proposition 2 1/2."

Sullivan said he would buy several million dollars in bond anticipation notes at an interest rate of 8 or 9 per cent to help fund renovations of the Webster. Longfellow and Roberts grade schools, but not until the state guaranteed that it would pick up 75 per cent of the costs.

The city manager's recommendations for other bond issues--including money to repair the power plant at the city hospital, renovate the infirmary, and perhaps expand the city nursing home--will not be floated until "the bond market settles down."

Proposition 2 1/2--the tax-cutting measure approved by Bay State voters last November-- has made it "nearly impossible" to raise money on the bond market in the state, Sullivan said. "If anyone would loan you any money, it would be at such a prohibitive interest rate that we wouldn't do it," he added.

But, he said, "you can't stop government for Proposition 2 1/2... I can't believe that the state legislature won't somehow modify it, and so we will go on running the city as best we know how."

Several members of the council cited the need for increased playground space and new recreational facilities at the schools, but school department officials said more open space would probably require the demolition of residential housing.

School budget analyst Oliver Brown said the city should move quickly on the renovation plans for the schools because the state might soon eliminate its 75-per-cent funding program.

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