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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Signing of agreement delayed

Thursday, March 15, 2012

(Photo)
Clay County Commissioner Paul Sinders
The refinancing of the Clay County Justice Center jail bonds may have to wait a little longer.

On Thursday, the Clay County Commissioners tabled signing an agreement to refinance First Mortgage Bonds, until a possible meeting or phone conference can be scheduled with Commissioner Paul Sinders and bond council representative, Richard Starkey, from Barnes and Thornburg.

"I just want to make sure I'm doing the right thing," Sinders said, adding he felt uncomfortable signing off on something "so big."

"If I'm representing the taxpayer, I want to do what is right," Sinders added.

Commissioner's Attorney Eric Somheil presented an agreement to refinance the mortgage bonds during a special meeting Thursday.

Somheil said it was one of the steps in the refinancing agreement, and added the commissioners were just authorizing it.

In 2004, the county issued bonds to pay for the Clay County Justice Center. However, due to lower interest rates, the Clay County Council and Clay County Building Corporation have been looking into refinancing the bonds.

Initially, the bonds were supposed to be paid off by 2034. With the refinancing, however, six additional years could be eliminated. The gross savings after refinancing could be approximately $5 million.

The bond payments are close to $800,000 per year. But the county's income is approximately $960,000 per year. The remainder of the money goes into a fund that cannot be used for anything other than paying off the bonds.

In a six-year period, the fund has built up a balance of nearly $1.9 million.

On Thursday, Somheil said the agreement was a "very standard document" regarding bond refinancing.

Still, Sinders said he was not ready to sign off on the agreement until he had more information. He also said he felt uncomfortable signing off on the agreement because he did not realize the commissioners had anything to do with it.

"I just want to make sure what I'm doing is correct," he said.

Recently, the Clay County Council appropriated $1.5 million from the Jail CAGIT Fund for the refinancing of the bonds. The money is to be used to lower the balance of the bonds.

Meanwhile, the commissioners voted 3-0 to award a contract for appraisal support services through the Clay County Assessor's Office.

County Assessor Mark Barnhart presented the commissioners with a contract agreement with Tyler Technologies, a vendor the office has worked with since 2007.

On Thursday, Barnhart offered the two-year contract for the company, which has an office in Jasper, to the commissioners to sign off on.

Barnhart said Tyler Technologies has helped his office with several studies and appeals.

"Basically, they are our eyes in the county on new construction and visiting all the 23,000-plus parcels (in Clay County)," Barnhart said.

The commissioners meet regularly on the first Monday of each month at the Clay County Commissioner's Courtroom in the Clay County Courthouse. Their next meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m., Monday, April 2.



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