County government opens loan proposals for school central office
The Salisbury-Rowan School System on Wednesday moved one step closer to making a proposed downtown central office a reality.
Rowan County government, which would incur the largest portion of the offices’ expense, received three loan proposals Wednesday. The proposals came from First Bank, SunTrust Bank and Regions Bank. The most significant difference between the three are the investment rates. All of the proposals were for $6.5 million.
First Bank’s proposal included two different options. One option included a 3.55 percent per year interest rate. The second option included a 3.95 percent per year interest rate. Explaining the terms of First Bank’s loan proposal, Finance Director Leslie Heidrick said both options would require refinancing after a specified period. For option one, the period is 48 months. For option two the period is 72 months.
Refinancing may not be the most attractive option, Heidrick said.
The financing proposal from SunTrust Bank also included two different interest options — 2.48 percent and 2.83 percent.
The third proposal, from Regions Bank, has an interest rate of 2.68 percent.
The interest is significant on the school’s proposal as it could add more than $1 million to the total loan amount. For example, the Regions Bank proposal would add $1.43 million to the $6.5 million the county plans to borrow for the school central office.
The Rowan County Board of Commissioners would have to approve a financing proposal. The central office financing agreement is currently scheduled for consideration at the commissioners’ Jan. 5 meeting, said Heidrick. The county is also scheduled to have a public hearing on the loan financing at the same meeting.
“We’re not making a recommendation today,” Heidrick said Wednesday. “We’ll go back and do our homework.”
After commissioners approve a loan proposal, the Local Government Commission, a state financial regulatory agency, would have to also give its approval.
Overall, Heidrick said the loans were good news for the county, as both the SunTrust Bank and Regions Bank proposals would add significantly less interest to the county’s loan than projections Heidrick was using — 3.5 percent interest.
The county’s projected closing date for the loan is Feb. 12, 2015. With a requested time frame of 15 years to repay the loan, the county’s payments would end in 2030. The payments would come from tax dollars specifically earmarked for school system capital improvements. More specifically, the tax comes from amounts allocated through two half-cent taxes.
The total price tag for the school central office is $7.98 million. Other funding sources include the city of Salisbury, which has pledged $500,000, and $150,000 in in-kind services, the Robertson Foundation, which pledged $850,000, and $150,000 from philanthropist Fred Stanback.
Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.