Feb. 12--Onslow County will pay off what it owes the Eastern Region and withdraw the money, commissioners decided this week.
The Eastern Region is set to disburse funds on June 30 and Onslow County currently has $1,465,943.42 in outstanding loans through the organization. Paying the loan off, with interest, will cost the county about $1,475,807.59.
According to N.C. Eastern Region, the county borrowed $1,615,000 for landscaping and roadway improvements at Burton Park in December 2000 and $1.2 million to assist with constructing a shell building in July 2009.
The commissioners recently decided to withdraw $574,754.80 in DMV funds the county had available through the organization while continuing discussion on paying off the loan until a Monday workshop.
Once the loan is paid off, the county is able to withdraw $2,040,698.22 and set it aside for economic development purposes, according to information from the county.
The Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the move during the Monday workshop.
Eastern Region Chief Finance Officer Sylvia Nesbitt told The Daily News that the county is not required to pay off the loan before N.C. Eastern Region dissolves.
"If they don't pay them off before the end of this fiscal year, which is June 30, the loans themselves will transfer to the state treasurer's office," she said.
However, neither the organization nor the county is sure how the loan payments will work once it is turned over to the state.
Schorr Johnson, communications manager for the Treasurer's Office, said that the Local Government Commission has approved these types of loans in the past and they are treated the same as bank financing with respect to approval and repayment requirements.
"They can be repaid at any time with no penalty," he said.
Nesbitt previously told The Daily News that each county has two pots of money that make up its revolving trust fund: DMV collections from July 1, 1994, and one-13th of a one-time state appropriation to the trust fund.
The N.C. Eastern Region is currently being dissolved and becoming the Eastern Regional Alliance, which will be privatized in order to market and bring exposure to Eastern North Carolina, Vice President of the N.C. Eastern Region Kathy Howard previously told The Daily News. As part of that, counties are able to withdraw their available funds to be used only for economic development purposes.
Amanda Hickey is the government reporter at The Daily News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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