By: Robin Ford Wallace, Reporter
The Dade County
Commission held a special called meeting on Thursday and the Dade Industrial
Development Authority did the same on Friday for the purpose of accepting terms
on a shared $2.5 million bond issue.
is a way government entities borrow money for capital projects they wish to
complete before it is feasible to pay for them with cash on hand. In this case,
Dade County needed, and needed now, $1.5 million to repair roads after 2013’s
torrential rains. The independent IDA, meanwhile, needed funds for its own
project, installing infrastructure in its 200-plus-acre expansion to Dade’s
existing industrial park. Thus IDA
consented to initiate the bond issue for the county and enter into an
intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the county to make the loan, borrowing
$1 million of its own.
from the Raymond James financial group appeared before the Dade County
Commission at the Sept. 12 meeting to explain the terms of the deal. He said
the total amount of the note was $2,580,000 but that technically it would be
accomplished in two separate bond issues, one tax-exempt at a 3.95 interest
rate, the other taxable at 6.81 percent. The issuance is a 15-year,
fixed-interest one with a debt service, or payments, of $240,000 a year for
Agan said the
loan is set to close on Oct. 10.
questions from the commissioners, Agan told them if they considered IDA’s
landholdings security for IDA’s part of the loan, that was a matter between
them and IDA; as far as the financial institution was concerned it was the
commissioners’ responsibility entirely.
Likewise, he said,
though they hoped to recoup the money from future SPLOST (special purpose local
option sales tax) revenues – from which the county regularly finances roadwork
– payments would still be due if the next SPLOST referendum failed. “It’s an
unconditional obligation,” he said. “You would have to go to the general fund.”
commissioners – minus District 2’s Scottie Pittman, who was unable to attend –
approved both the taxable and nontaxable bond series. County Attorney Robin
Rogers then explained to them that their intergovernmental agreement with the
other group about the issuance – their IGA with the IDA, as it were – was still
being tweaked, and that their vote in favor would signify agreement with its
substantive terms and authorize Dade County Commission Executive Chairman to
accept any minor modifications on their behalf.
commissioners so voted.
did not attend IDA’s called meeting the next morning, but Robin Rogers stood in
as explicator of terms. He explained the
two series of bonds with their varying interest rates: “The idea is to get as
much of that nontaxable as possible,” he said.
bonds with their lower interest rates must be used to finance projects open to
the public, such as roads, he said, as opposed to projects for private
businesses, such as might be expected to go into the industrial park expansion.
“A big issue we wrestled with for quite some time was what about the utilities
that were going into the industrial park,” he said.
In the end, the
balance was $1.935 million in nontaxable bonds and $645,000 in taxable, said
He went through
the terms of the bond issue and the $240K yearly debt service. “We’re on the
hook for 40 percent of that, so our portion will be $50,000,” said IDA Chairman
As at the
commission meeting, Wooten said the eventual idea was that a SPLOST in 2015
would take care of IDA’s portion of the debt.
And also as at
the commissioner meeting, Rogers had IDA board members in separate votes
approve the two bond series and accept the general terms of the IGA with the
county, authorizing Chairman Wooten to agree to any needed changes on their
noted during the meeting that IDA had offered $350,000 for the remaining 70-odd
acres of the old Olgiati farm north of Trenton, the other 200-plus acres of
which comprise the aforementioned expansion of Dade’s industrial park.
Wooten said the
offer had been accepted but that the deal was contingent on the bond issue
monthly meeting is at 3 p.m. on the third Friday of the month, which in this
case is this Friday. It meets in the Commission room of the Dade Administrative