City & County Agree To Seek Bond Based On Projected SPLOST

Carrollton-city and Carroll County on Thursday agree to begin the bonding process that will give the two entities more than 40-percent of the 96-million dollars they expect will be collected during the six-year 2015 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.
Carrollton Mayor Wayne Garner says the municipal bond rate was at 2.09 percent Thursday.
Garner defends the decision to get at the money now as opposed to waiting until it is collected through the 1-cent tax.
“Realize that (SPLOST) just passed very handsomely (by city residents). I think people in the city like how we’ve handled SPLOST in the past—we have The Amp… a new fire station with ISO ratings of ‘2,’ Garner said. “I like to get the money; get it in the bank.”
“Government is very fluid and as you go along you’ll see projects you need to do,” he continued. “I’m interested in doing something for the library—maybe on a large scale. If that spark hits, I want the money available to do it.”
Carroll County Commission Chairman Marty Smith agreed that it’s better to have access to the money now, but he says it’s more about security for the county.
“Having in the event of a major catastrophic event to where we have the funds set aside to be able to (deal with) that,” Smith said.
The chairman points to the floods of 2009 where SPLOST funds on hand did go to fixing several structural issues locally.
“It will also allow us to recognize other things that we need to be doing such as “fix-up” programs,” he said. “Interest rates right now, we definitely know are at their lowest point. Our goal is to borrow the money while (the rates) are low. A decision down the road when they are high could cost us a lot of money.”
The lone vote against bonding Thursday—from either the city or county—was cast by Councilman Jim Watters.
Watters said he would prefer to wait until the money has actually been collected through SPLOST before spending it.
“I’m not comfortable with the cost of bonding this… the interest we are going to pay bonding 10-million-dollars over seven years,” he said. “We may have enough projects to spend this money on but some of those projects (maybe) could have waited a couple of years to get started—therefore we wouldn’t have had to bond this.”
The $40-million bond gives Carrollton city $10-million and Carroll County $30-million.
None of the county’s other municipalities opted to be part of the bond and will receive their shares as the tax is collected.
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Location : Carroll County