2012-01-05 / Front Page

Newly Elected Commissioners Talk Finances

Discuss committing to a $1.4 million construction loan
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz
STAFF WRITER


The newly-elected Board of Commissioners, front row, left to right, Irvin Dasher, Rodney McCray and Craig Cutchall were sworn into office Tuesday morning by Fulton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Carol L. Van Horn. Joining the commissioners following the ceremony were reappointed county officials, back row, left to right, Chief Clerk Daniel Swain Jr. and solicitor Stanley Kerlin. The newly-elected Board of Commissioners, front row, left to right, Irvin Dasher, Rodney McCray and Craig Cutchall were sworn into office Tuesday morning by Fulton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Carol L. Van Horn. Joining the commissioners following the ceremony were reappointed county officials, back row, left to right, Chief Clerk Daniel Swain Jr. and solicitor Stanley Kerlin. Talk among the newly elected Board of Fulton County commissioners this week revolved around finances, new loan commitments and ongoing renovations following the official swearing in of Rodney McCray, Craig Cutchall and Irvin Dasher.

Business manager Tim Stanton appeared before the commissioners on January 3 with paperwork in hand from F&M Trust regarding two proposed loan modifications as well as a new loan commitment. Stanton recapped that the county took out a loan in 2009 totalling $3,666,500 million for the purpose of renovating existing county facilities. That loan has been fully drawn down, according to the business manager, and currently includes a 4.5 percent fixed interest rate.

Stanton also touched on a second loan in the amount of $375,000 that was used years ago in the construction of a new Services for Children office.

Following the recommendation of the business manager, the commissioners, on a motion by Cutchall, unanimously agreed to modify the loans through F&M Trust. Each loan will included a fixed, three-year interest rate of 2.57 percent. On the fourth year, the county will have the option to renegotiate for a new fixed rate. In the event the county defaults on selecting a new rate, the new interest rate could fluctuate between 2.64 percent and 4.5 percent.

Stanton said the county should get “significant savings” through 2019 in comparison to leaving the loans at their current fixed interest rate. As the the loans are only being modified, there will be no need for resolutions or involvement by the Department of Community and Economic Development.

In similar matters, Stanton indicated the modifications were part of a “package deal” presented by F&M Trust. The deal also includes a loan commitment letter for an additional $1.4 million to tackle additional construction. It was noted in the event the commissioners would opt to refuse the loan or only take out a portion of the $1.4 million offered, the previously modified loans would see their fixed interest rates jump by 1/2 percent.

The package was presented to the county in such a manner, Stanton said, to eliminate any “cherry picking” of the best deals for each loan.

Under questioning by Mc- Cray, the commissioners learned from the business manager they have a relatively short window of time to decide whether they wish to pursue the $1.4 million loan. A commitment letter must be penned by January 15, giving the commissioners an additional week to discuss the matter further and review the proposed scope of work.

By modifying the loans in conjunction with the additional $1.4 million in borrowing, the county stands to save approximately $77,000 annually over the next three years. Those savings accrued are helping in turn to close the county’s “budget gap.”

The commissioners also addressed the topic of reorganization and annual appointments as part of their meeting on Tuesday. McCray and Cutchall will take over as chair and vice chair of the Board of Commissioners, respectively. Meanwhile, Daniel Swain Jr. will continue in the capacity of board secretary and appointed chief clerk. Other appointments endorsed by the commissioners included solicitor Stanley Kerlin; Tax Claim Bureau Director Monica Seville; Chief Assessor Michelle Sowers; Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture as sealer of weights and measures; Director of Veterans Affairs Edward Stenger; and Keller Engineers as county engineer.

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