Firehall finance plan set for vote
by By JOYANNA WEBER Banner Staff Writer
Jan 15, 2013 | 896 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
D. Gary Davis
D. Gary Davis

The Bradley County Commission will vote on financing funding needed for the expansion of Bradley County Fire-Rescue and refinancing some current debt during its next voting session.

Commissioners will vote on issuing bonds to finance building three additional full-time, staffed fire stations and the amount over budget for the needed trucks and equipment.

The county will be financing about $7.1 million for the projects.

Joe Ayres of Cumberland Securities, addressing the Commission during Monday’s work session, said issuing the bonds for the two components of the project will save money.

“Under Tennessee Code Annotated, once this resolution is published the citizens and voters of Bradley County have a 20-day period to petition to ask that this be put on a referendum,” Ayers said.

If no petition is filed, the county will move forward with issuing the bonds.

The debt is projected to have a fixed interest rate of a little more than 2 percent.

In a separate resolution, the Commission will consider refinancing some current bonds from variable rate to fixed rate. The new interest rate is projected to be about 1 percent, according to Ayers. The actual rate will be unknown until the bonds are bid. If the interest rate is higher then expected, then Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis can reject them later. Ayers said the variable rate on the bond is around 1.3 percent. However, money can be saved by switching to a fixed rate by eliminating some recurring fees associated with having a variable rate.

“We’re recommending that you refinance those at this time. They were originally issued in the amount of $7.3 million, and you all have paid those down to $4.5 million, roughly,” Ayers said.

Ayers said the current bonds would be paid off in five years.

The new debt will be paid back over a 15-year period, unless it’s paid off early.

Third District Commissioner Jeff Morelock asked if there are any fees associated with a fixed-rate bond. Ayers said there were fewer fees with a fixed rate than those for variable-rate bonds.

“In both fixed- and variable-rate bonds, you have costs incurred to do the transaction,” Ayers said.

Another resolution setting policies for the bonds is also set to be voted upon.

“Bradley County enjoys a very favorable bond rating. There are only a handful of counties with a Double A rating,” Ayers said.

A resolution proposed by 4th District Commissioner J. Adam Lowe showing the Commission’s desire for state and federal government officials “to support any and all legislation that preserves the gun ownership and carry rights of the citizens of Bradley County, the State of Tennessee, and the United States” will also be considered at the next voting session.

As rain fell steadily outside, Commissioners Bill Winters and Ed Elkins brought concerns about stormwater issues in their districts.

Winters said the Everhart subdivision is one area where citizens have concerns. Winters said he has been able to talk to residents about the issue. He said the city of Cleveland is already looking into what can be done.

Elkins said in his district stormwater runoff is a concern near Candies Creek.

Also during the meeting, Commission chairman Louie Alford received the Commission’s blessing to sent a letter to Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland encouraging the city of Cleveland to bid its waste collection service rather than simply renew the current contract.