News Column

County studies issuing restoration bonds

June 9, 2014

By Janet Jacobs, Corsicana Daily Sun, Texas



June 09--CORSICANA -- The Navarro County Courthouse came one small step closer to its renovation project Monday when the commissioners court met in regular session.

On Monday, the commissioners gave tentative approval for a bond sale deal with Capital One. The bank is offering an interest rate of 3.7 percent for 20 years. The commissioners had been hoping for 21 years, but this was the only fixed rate deal that came close.

With the lower rate, the county might be able to make the payments on the bonds without raising tax rates, and if appraisal values are up just a bit, it will cover it, said Kathy Hollomon, county auditor.

"The new scenario, with 3.7 percent, brings us very close to the 2 cents," she said. "If we have any growth at all to the valuations it may cover it entirely."

The final contract won't be voted on until the June 23 meeting.

In the meantime, the work on the exterior of the courthouse has already begun. That work is being paid for from loans from the general fund, according to Hollomon.

The renovation of the courthouse has a lot of moving parts, one of which is the purchase and renovation of the Corsicana ISD administration building and the former Austin school house, which the county is under contract to buy. That deal is supposed to close on June 15.

Renovating the buildings to make them into a permanent courthouse annex for the tax office and probation departments still requires some construction work, and yet another contract.

A change order on the deal to renovate the Austin school building was also on the agenda, but the commissioners didn't take any action on it. They're still in negotiations with the contractor, said County Judge H.M. Davenport.

Another of those moving parts is having the courts and support offices move over to the former Navarro Mall, now called the Navarro Centre. On Monday, the commissioners hired Lochridge Priest to assess the air conditioners in the mall. The lease agreement that's been offered to the county states that air conditioning and heat are the responsibility of the tenant, not the mall's owner.

The county hasn't signed the lease yet, and wants to know the status of the equipment before doing so, Davenport said.

"We're still doing due diligence," he said.

Commissioners Court Meeting Briefs

County approves storage lease

Commissioners voted Monday to sign a six–month lease with Ideal Storage for a space in which to put records from the Navarro County Clerk's office. The records can be digitized, but the originals cannot be destroyed.

State grant sought

Having already gotten a federal grant to bring the flood control dam up to high-risk standards, the county will now seek a state grant to help make up the rest of the money. The federal grant will cover 65 percent of the $1.5 million project. If the state grant comes through, the county will only have to pay 5 percent of the 35 percent left, according to Bobby Wilson with soil conservation.

Cubicles for sale

Having bought a bunch of cubicles, which were going to be used during the county's move to the mall, the county is now left with cubicles it doesn't want or need. On Monday, they voted to declare the cubicles as salvage and will attempt to sell the cubicles.

Dump truck bids rejected

Bids for a used dump truck for precinct 3 were all rejected Monday. All the bids were higher than the maximum allowed under the offer, according to County Commissioner David "Butch" Warren.

Boring work OK'd

A request by Byers Engineering to bore underneath gravel roads SWCR 3160 and NWCR 3220 to lay fiber optic cable was approved. The work is out near Dawson.

JPs to get own fax lines

Approval was given to create three fax lines for the Justices of the Peace's offices. The lines are phone lines already in existence, but they'll be used for faxes. The JPs share a fax line now, but since the offices are going away from a paper fax machine to having faxes come in through the computers in the form of e-mails, that won't work. Instead, they'll have to have a separate fax line for each of the JP's offices.

Financials approved

Commissioners accepted the county tax collector's report, which stated the county is slightly ahead of last year at this time, about .34 percent. As well, they accepted five months' worth of reports from the auditor's office. The auditor has been putting in new software and had to create a new form for reports, which meant the county commissioners didn't see any reports from January to May. They also approved some slight changes in the investment policy forms submitted by the county treasurer.

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Janet Jacobs may be reached via email at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com.

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(c)2014 the Corsicana Daily Sun (Corsicana, Texas)

Visit the Corsicana Daily Sun (Corsicana, Texas) at corsicanadailysun.com

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Source: Corsicana Daily Sun (TX)


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