|Trinity Standard - Local News
Copyright 2012 - Polk County Publishing Company
County to borrow $725,000 to buy annex
Trinity Standard -
GROVETON – Plans to purchase the county annex buildings in Groveton moved forward Monday when Trinity County commissioners voted to formally notify the public they plan to issue $725,000 in certificates of obligation (COs). During their meeting, commissioners approved posting a legal notice in local newspapers of their intention to authorize the sale of the certificates during their June 11 meeting, which convenes at 9 a.m. For the last eight months, commissioners have been discussing the purchase of the five interconnected buildings located on Front Street across from the Trinity County Jail in Groveton. Last month commissioners approved plans to buy the buildings from Jonathan Thornberry for $675,000. The additional $50,000 included in the COs will cover the costs involved with the sale and issuing the certificates. Four of the annex buildings were used to house county offices during the two-year renovation of the Trinity County Courthouse and the fifth was obtained to provide office space for the Trinity County Sheriff’s Department due to overcrowding in the jail. While the county moved most of their offices back into the courthouse in August and September 2011, the county clerk, county tax assessor-collector and emergency management offices remained in the annex. The offices of the county extension agent, local highway patrol and local game wardens also are set to move there from their current location in the county’s Rock Building attic. During Monday’s meeting, County Judge Doug Page and County Auditor Sheila Johnson noted that the county is currently paying $8,238 per month to rent the five buildings. Under the plan drafted by John Martin of Southwest Securities, payments on the $725,000 loan would drop to $6,366 per month for a savings of more than $22,400 per year. Southwest Securities has been contracted as the county’s financial advisor to assist with issuing COs. During the meeting, Page also said when the county issues the new COs for the annex purchase, Martin is recommending they also refinance the $1.6 million in COs issued in 2008 to cover the local share of the courthouse renovation costs. The bulk of the $5.4 million renovation project was paid by a Texas Historical Commissioner grant, which covered 80 percent of the cost. Page noted that by refinancing those COs now, Martin has projected they could cut the annual interest rate from the current 4.45 percent down to 2.8 percent. “That would save the county over $82,500 in interest payments,” Page said. “Normally, I’m not in favor of refinancing this type of debt, but the amount the county would save is significant. I’m also recommending that we do it,” Johnson added. Martin has projected that when the county sells the $725,000 in new COs, it will get an interest rate of about 3 percent. Under the plan, the new COs would mature in 2023, at the same time the $1.6 million in courthouse COs are retired. Like voter-approved bonds, COs are offered for sale by governmental entities seeking to borrow money. Various banks and investors are offered an opportunity to bid on the interest rates they would need in order to provided the money. The governmental entity would then select the lowest rate available, borrow the money and then make interest and principal payments to the lender until the debt is retired. Unlike bonds, COs do not require voter approval but can be blocked if enough local voters object and submit a petition to the commissioners. Other action During Monday’s meeting, commissioners also: • Scheduled a public hearing on a request to close 430 feet of Rustling Wind Drive in the Camp Branch Acres/Carlisle Cove area of Precinct 1. Pct. 1 Commissioners said the area to be closed runs from where it dead ends at Lake Livingston and is completely surrounded by land owned by the Garland Trust. The hearing will be held during their June 11, which begins at 9 a.m. • Voted to purchased a John Deere 6430 cab tractor for $57,645.29; an Anbo GRSH grapping arm for $6,500; and a John Deere H340 farm loader for $8,592.87. All three items are for the Precinct 4 road and bridge department • Approved contracts to lease county Automark voting machines to the City of Trinity and the Trinity Memorial Hospital District for use during the May 12 elections • Adopted a proclamation designating May as Elder Abuse Prevention Month in Trinity County.