News Column

Greene County finds use for Eastern Region funds

February 20, 2014

By Margaret Fisher, The Free Press, Kinston, N.C.



Feb. 20--SNOW HILL -- At the Feb. 3 Greene County commission meeting, Commissioner Denny Garner proposed the possibility of using the N.C. Eastern Region funds for the county's own project, to pay off a loan from BB&T.

Commissioners had recently considered loaning their funds to Wayne County.

The $437,045 loan was used to purchase a lift station and construct utility lines for the Northwest Industrial Park near Walstonburg.

The payoff as of June 30 was $211,498 and the interest rate is 4.15 percent with more than seven years of payments remaining.

The NCER five-year loan would have a zero-percent interest rate, a 1 percent loan origination fee and no pre-payment penalties.

County Manager Richard Hicks said he spoke to Sharon Edmundson of the State Treasury Office, and Tim Romocki, the director of Debt Management for the Government Finance Division.

"Both Sharon and Tim said if you can get that cheap of an interest rate it makes sense to them," he told commissioners on Monday night.

Hicks said Edmundson and Romocki recommended the county ready the application for the Local Government Commission's April meeting. The county earlier filed an application with NCER, which is pending.

The county board adopted a resolution authorizing the filing of an application with the LGC. A public hearing has been set for March 3 at the commissioner's regular meeting.

With the dissolving of the NCER on June 30 as part of restructuring the state's Department of Commerce into a public-private nonprofit partnership, Wayne County had expressed an interest in January of borrowing Greene County's available funds.

"If we don't have anything," Garner had stated in January, "we would be hard-pressed to have anything in there by March."

But later it was determined that counties could use only their own funds. Garner, a former banker, then posed the idea of paying off the BB&T loan as a quick application process in applying for the funds, which would be lost if not obtained before NCER dissolves.

Margaret Fisher can be reached at 252-559-1082 or Margaret.Fisher@Kinston.com . Follow her on Twitter @MargaretFishr.

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Source: Kinston Free Press (NC)


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