DENTON — The Caroline County commissioners at their meeting Tuesday, Aug. 13, passed a resolution updating the costs and timeline projections for upcoming major projects in the county’s capital budget, and introduced two bills, one allowing it to issue the debt for those projects, and another allowing it to pay off an existing lease-purchase agreement at significant savings to the county.
The two bills will be up for public hearings at the commissioners’ next meeting, 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27, in the meeting room in the Caroline County Circuit Courthouse, 109 Market St., Denton.
After the public hearings, those bills will be eligible for enactment at the commissioners’ meeting Tuesday, Sept. 10.
The resolution, which went into effect the day after it was approved, amended the county’s costs and repayment timelines of three projects that were already in the current fiscal year’s capital budget — the new Greensboro Elementary School, renovations to the Caroline County Detention Center in Denton and hot mix asphalt to surface county roads.
The accompanying bill, if approved, would authorize the county to issue $23 million in 20-year bonds for those projects: A $20 million bond for the school, a $2 million bond for the detention center improvements, a $750,000 bond for the hot mix asphalt and $250,000 in costs to issue them.
Robert Chapel, of Ridgely, questioned why the county would take on 20 years of debt to surface roads. Vice President Dan Franklin said hot mix asphalt is eligible because it is projected to last 20 years.
President Larry Porter noted the $50 million Greensboro Elementary School replacement will be the largest capital project in county history; the other $30 million in funds will come from the state.
The other bill will allow the county to issue a bond to pay off early a lease-purchase agreement it signed in 2015 for public safety radio equipment.
Under the current agreement, the county pays $450,000 every year to Motorola, through 2026.
County Administrator Jeremy Goldman said current market conditions would allow the county to issue a $3 million bond to pay off the balance on the lease-purchase agreement, as well on four other existing bonds, at an interest rate that would save the county $1.3 million.
However, the county does not currently have the authority to refund the lease-purchase agreement through general obligation bonds.
The proposed bill would establish that authority.