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Public hearing scheduled on refinancing county building, funding new library systems
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Residents will have a chance to comment on refinancing the Newton County Administration Building to pay for a new HVAC system for the Covington branch of the library.

A public hearing about the loan is scheduled for Tuesday, September 15, at 6:30 p.m., immediately before the regularly scheduled Board of Commissioners meeting on the second floor of the Newton County Historic Courthouse, 1124 Clark Street, Covington.

The Covington branch of the Newton County Library System has been closed on and off this summer because of the building’s failing heating and cooling system. At the September 1 Board of Commissioner’s meeting, Dr. Steve Whatley, chair of the Library Board, told the commissioners that temporary repairs to the aging system made it possible to reopen the library but the repairs were a Band-Aid.

“For two plus years, the Library Board and Administration have worked to seek solutions in replacing the entire HVAC system due to ongoing issues related to the age of the system,” Whatley said later. “Engineering studies were completed with recommendations, a detail scope of work was defined, state contracting chosen and methods for securing financial support have been undertaken.”

The commissioners agreed at the last BOC meeting to pursue refinancing the Administration Building, which includes $750,000 to for replacing the library’s heating and cooling system.

According to a Stifel Merchant Capital Division memo to county administrators and the county attorney, August 26, refinancing $6,870,000 currently outstanding through Series 2006 Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) Certificates of Participation (COPs) 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 funds needed for the library system repairs would be obtained.

These lease payments would be paid by the county through an annual approximation, and the lender may have a security interest in the Administration building. The single transaction may help the County obtain more favorable financing terms and interest rates.

Following the public hearing, the commissioners will vote on a resolution on the financing at its regular meeting later that evening.