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BOC approves resolution to refinance Administration Building
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After hearing comments from a couple of residents, opposing the decision, at both the public hearing and the regularly scheduled Newton County Board of Commissioners (BOC) meeting on Tuesday, the BOC approved a resolution to refinance the Administration Building.

The loan, made through the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) Certifications of Participation (COPs), refinances the $6,870,000 currently outstanding by issuing approximately $6,375,000 through an installment sale agreement. 

With an additional $1.6 million of Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds applied to repayment of the COPs and $200,000 reserved for debt service, the 2006 COPs would be paid off and the $750,000 needed for the library system repairs would be available.

According to Brian Huskey of Stifel, Nicholaus and Company, the county’s investment advisors, the refinancing drops the interest rate from 4.25 percent to 2.05 percent. It also cuts two years off the current loan repayment schedule.

He said the county had sent out 11 bids on the sales agreement, some local, some national. Only four were returned. That will, he said, save the county $475,000 in the long run.

“It’s a good financial move,” he said. “We’ll save the county a significant amount of money.”

Attorney Garrett Churchill of Murray Barnes Finister of Atlanta, consultants on the legality of the transaction, said the county had retained them to make sure the transaction complied with state, federal and local security laws.

At the public hearing, resident Dennis Taylor told the BOC, “I have never seen someone borrow successfully out of debt.”

Sam M. Hay III objected to the system the library had selected to replace the old HVAC system. “Today, $150,000 would buy a new solar system for the library.”

The system, he said, had been used successfully in European and Japanese hotels and public buildings. “But that’s not good enough for the library. They have $150,000. Who’s telling them to put in this dinosaur [heating and cooling system]?”

During the discussion of the financials, Interim County Manager told the BOC that the library is using the state procurement process to purchase the equipment.

While County Attorney W. T. “Tommy” Craig was explaining the resolution, comparing the refinancing process to the refinancing of a house, a resident shouted out his objections to refinancing. Warned he was out of order twice by Chair Keith Ellis, he finally stormed out saying when he refinanced a home he didn’t include anything else in the debt.

Ellis reported on the county road underway. Installation of the stop lights at the intersections of Highway 81 and Salem Road, and Highway 81 and Crowell Road, is moving forward on time. Paving will be done at night, causing the least amount of traffic disruption.

Utilities are being moved near Livingston Lane in preparation for resurfacing, and Covered Bridge Road is in the process of being paved. A seven-foot diameter pipe is being installed to replace a culvert recently washed away on Hancock Road in Social Circle.