Rowan commissioners vote to borrow $722,000

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Jessie Burchette
County commissioners did a bit of year-end business Monday afternoon, borrowing $722,000.
Commissioners held a special meeting to approve the paperwork on the loan, which will pay for two ambulances, 12 vehicles for the Sheriff’s Office and an upgrade to the AS400 computer system.
The five-year loan will be at a 2.7 percent interest rate.
The county solicited bids from various banks, with Wachovia offering the lowest interest rate. Five firms bid, with the highest rate offered at 3.75 percent.
County Manager Gary Page noted the county has already approved the purchase of the vehicles for the Sheriff’s Office and is in the process of getting bids on the ambulances and computer system.
He cited timing as the key factor in going forward with the loan now.
Each year, the county is eligible to borrow up to $10 million in “bank qualified” loans, typically at a low rate that has tax advantages for banks.
Going over $10 million in a year would force the county to borrow using certificates of participation, which can have higher interest rates and expensive fees.
Page said the $722,000 will fold in with money already borrowed this year for courthouse and jail renovations.
Starting Jan. 1, the county will be eligible to borrow another $10 million, which Page said will likely go for a jail project and possibly a new central office for the Rowan-Salisbury School System.
Commissioners approved a series of five motions required to carry out the loan transaction.
Commissioners have canceled their Dec. 15 meeting. The next session will be Jan. 5 at 4 p.m.