Apr. 7—The county commissioners mostly passed on what is essentially interest-free borrowing for schools, choosing to stay with what voters approved in 2018 and look to COVID relief.
“I think it's irresponsible to put 20 years of debt on the county for projects that other sources could cover,” said
Interest rates are much lower than they were in 2018 when
Premiums, as Commissioner
It's a little complicated. Voters approved just
The county projected a 5% interest rate when calculating how much it would be paying on those bonds. But unless something very surprising happens, when ABSS issues its bonds
The county can't refuse those premiums, but can put just enough of those bonds on the market to borrow the
But it would also leave the county with another
“The bond market won't look at us so favorably this time,” said Lashley.
But that was not something that seemed to worry him.
“I want to take the exact amount that the taxpayers voted,” Lashley said.
The school board was hopeful last month that the commissioners would take the premium and use it to make up for huge increases in steel costs and tackle some of the other
There will be a lot of COVID relief money coming to the school system. The federal government hasn't been too clear what that could be used for, but it's not supposed to go for construction.
“Not one dime of that money has anything to do with brick, cement, roofing, toilets — anything that you need to build a school,” said Commissioner
Most is expected to be restricted COVID safety and making up learning loss, but it looks like some could actually be spent on HVAC systems since improved airflow can reduce the spread of the virus. And those, Turner pointed out, represent
“That gives us a chance then to see how much of that federal money can cover some of these projects,” Carter said, “and then see how much of that
The board voted 5-0 to issue bonds to take
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