Aug. 18--Maury County School Board members agreed Thursday the district's general fund balance is healthy enough to make the first scheduled loan payment in April if the county commission finally approves $4.7 million in bonds.
The board's unanimous support for the bond issuance agreement clears another hurdle for the district in its efforts to fund repairs and upgrades to heating, ventilation and cooling systems in school buildings throughout the county.
Inspectors with Trane Corporation identified needed upgrades throughout the district during an energy savings audit conducted earlier this year.
Separate county committees cleared the bond measure earlier this week, despite some confusion over a proposed repayment schedule. School officials had hoped to delay making the first payment for 18 months, but learned they will have to settle for a title schedule.
The Maury County Commission is scheduled to consider the matter for final approval at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Tom Primm Commission Room.
During this year's budgeting process, commissioners agreed to issue $9 million in bonds -- a package that includes $2 million for the design phase of the new Columbia Central High School and more than $4 million for upgrades at Whitthorne Middle School.
The school board, however, asked schools director Eddie Hickman to ask the commissioners to borrow an additional $4.7 million on the school's behalf to address other needs outlined in the energy audit. The repairs and upgrades are part of a self-funding project and Trane officials guarantee savings in energy costs once the project is complete. The savings then can be used to repay the loan.
If school officials had decided not to implement the upgrade program, the district then would be responsible for paying $398,000 as its share of the audit costs.
Hickman told school board members on Thursday borrowing the money for the repairs -- with savings eventually paying for the entire project -- is a better option "instead of writing a hefty check to Trane."
Under the repayment schedule proposed by Trane, the school will be responsible for its first loan payment of $315,086 in April -- a payment that can come from the district's fund balance.
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