2012-01-19 / Front Page

Commissioners To Borrow More Money

tSign commitment letter for $1.4 million
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

With the clock ticking down to the January 15 deadline, the new board of Fulton County commissioners made its first big decision of office last week, deciding to borrow additional money that will be used for ongoing construction.

Reconvening last Wednesday morning for the “purpose of discussing the county renovation project,” commissioners Rodney McCray, Craig Cutchall and Irvin Dasher reviewed the outstanding work needed to complete the old jail, courthouse and bandshell as well as the additional funds necessary to cover that particular scope of work.

While the commissioners noted they certainly didn’t wish to incur any additional debt, “cash reserves are not typically used in large construction projects,” so debt financing remained their only alternative.

Just the week before, the board sat down with business manager Tim Stanton and modified two existing loans. One loan totaling $3,666,500 was taken out by the commissioners in 2009 for the purpose of renovating existing facilities. That loan has since been fully drawn down, while the second loan in the amount of $375,000 was used years ago in the construction of the new Services for Children Office.

Each of the two loans through F&M Trust was modified by the commissioners to include a fixed, three-year interest rate of 2.57 percent. The fourth year, the county will retain the option of renegotiating a new fixed rate.

As part of accepting the lower interest rate, the county also considered a “package” deal from F&M Trust concerning an additional $1.4 million to tackle remaining construction concerns. By modifying the loans in conjunction with the extra borrowing, the county reportedly stands to save approximately $77,000 over the next three years.

On a motion by Chairman Mc- Cray, the board unanimously agreed to execute a letter of intent with the bank to incur the additional indebtedness. The motion and borrowing are subject to adoption of a borrowing ordinance and approval by the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

In agreeing to the matter, the commissioners stated they will make “every effort” to not draw the full amount of the $1.4 million loan.

Furthermore, the commissioners said in their weekly minutes, “ ... Fulton County does not have a large and increasing industrial/ commercial base which might provide additional revenue to the county without significantly increasing the costs of county government. The commissioners agree that improving the county’s economy is a very important objective.”

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