November 06, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

UNION Looking ahead, Union City Council members arent willing to place all their hopes in perfect spring golfing weather.

To cover their bases, members of the council are arranging meetings and looking at possible options to refinance or lower the interest rates on the bond used to build the year-old Buffalo Peak Golf Course.

Union City Administrator Bill Searles said this week that council members will be meeting, probably near the end of November with Union County commissioners to consider if a restructured bond or state-backed funding program could be instituted to save the city interest points from its current bond with a private bondholder.

The city has made the first payment on the golf course bond and has the money in the bank to make the second payment in January, but is concerned about having the money available for a payment due in July 2002.

Originally, Buffalo Peak was planned to open for play about a year and a half before a bond payment would come due. Construction delays meant that the course opened for play in September 2000, less than a year before the bond payment.

Planning ahead for another golf season, Searles said the city council will identify some other options for meeting the bond obligations.

The meeting with the commissioners will be among the items for council consideration at Monday nights regular meeting at City Hall.

Another new Union landmark will also come under discussion for a possible maintenance change, Searles said.

Currently, the city is responsible for the exterior maintenance and grounds care at the medical building on Main Street. Searles plans to discuss with the council about changing the lease arrangement with Oregon Health and Science University.

His proposal, Searles said, would be to reduce the cost of the lease considerably, but remove the city from the maintenance clause.

In another matter, the council will also discuss funding options for maintaining the ambulance.

Searles said the ambulance is anticipating about $15,000 to $20,000 less in income this year because the vehicle has not been called for standby service as much as in the past.

Among the discussion points will be where costs could be cut.

Searles is also planning to bring up the idea of a city transient room tax, adopting a school zone around the new Head Start building and revising the rate schedule for submitting planning applications to the city.