Board to revisit funding methods

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 12, 2002

County officials will discuss bonding options for the courthouse project during a workshop meeting Friday.

The board had decided to go with a combination of non-referendum bonds to finance the $24.6 million project. But, a motion to go with lower-interest bonds that would allow a referendum was entered during the last board meeting, and the commissioners tabled the subject.

The referendum option makes the interest rate lower by 0.2 to 0.25 percent for an $8-million bonding, which covers all but the construction of jail and law enforcement functions, which use different bonding methods. But county administration contends that the costs associated with the referendum and the delay in issuing the bonds may offset the savings.

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In the Friday workshop, officials will try to identify overall costs for each option by getting professional input from a financial specialist and architects.

The board will also review the proposal to const a new highway shop in Alden and expanding the main shop. The estimated cost of $500,000 would be added to the courthouse bonding.

The project, which could cost around $25 million, will add a new jail, law enforcement center, courtrooms and offices for many county departments. The project has become more and more controversial as the board has decided to tear down a 1954 addition to the old courthouse and replace it with extra space in the new judicial center. Many residents have also demanded the chance to vote in a referendum on the project, but the county board last month voted to proceed with leased bonds to fund the project, a move that avoids a referendum.