August 5, 2014 10:32:22 AM
Lowndes County could save about $500,000 over the remaining 13 years of its industrial bond by refinancing the bond at a lower interest rate, a financial advisor told the county's board of supervisors Monday.
In 2007, county supervisors approved a $21,290,000 bond issue to be paid off over 20 years. The money was used to install water and sewer and make improvements to Charleigh Ford Road in an effort to lure Paccar to build and operate a commercial truck engine manufacturing plant. The initial interest rate was 4.5 percent, county administrator Ralph Billingsley said. By voting to approve the refinancing, $9,000,085 will be paid at a 3.1 percent interest rate, according to Steve Pittman, a partner with financial advising firm Government Consultants.
Since the bond is to be paid off by 2027, the county will be paying about $40,000 a year less than it would under the previous interest rate until then, Billingsley said.
"We're not changing the amount of debt outstanding," he said. "We're just borrowing it from a different bucket at a lower interest rate. Over the remaining life of the bond, the taxpayers will have a savings of some half-million dollars. It's just one of those things where you say, 'let's do it ' and hope the interest rate stays down long enough to get it done."
Extension granted for school demolition
Last month, supervisors granted Earl Harris, who they contracted with earlier this year to tear down the old Crawford school building, an extension through the end of July but voiced concern about the lack of progress that had been made. The contract was for $4,000 to be paid once the job was done.
Billingsley reported to supervisors Monday that there was a cleanup crew on site but the job was about a third complete.
"I've had a number of phone calls over the last two months with (Harris)," Billingsley said. "He has given me a number of deadlines when he would have it done. Those have come and gone to this point. Last week he told me once again he would be there late in the week and would be working on the weekend getting it cleaned up. It appears at least there is some action there."
District 4 Supervisor Jeff Smith, who represents Crawford, said Harris should be granted no longer than another 15 days to complete the job. Billingsley said the county has not paid Harris any money yet.
District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks suggested the county include a letter of notice to Harris with the extension.
"We need to get him a letter saying that anything that's not cleaned by the 15th, we're going to subtract it and pay somebody else to complete it," Brooks said. "I think that will get his attention."
In other business, the board:
■ Requested Tombigbee River Valley Water Management District to evaluate flooding issues at Gilmer Creek and Catalpa Creek;
■ Set a public hearing on the 2014-15 tax rolls for Aug. 29 at 9:15 a.m. at the county courthouse;
■ Approved a request from road manager Ronnie Burns to hire a new maintenance mechanic and service technician.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
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