Franklin County Commission

The Franklin County Commission recently made its April debt payment of $1.93 million on projects, bringing the total amount owed to $49.9 million.

The county is paying off debt for the county government center, judicial center, old courthouse renovation, sheriff’s office heating and air conditioning project and the Pave the County program.

The commissioners in office now inherited debt from previous commissioners.

However, Presiding County Commissioner John Griesheimer was in office when the debt was refinanced, which, he said, saved the county about $3.6 million over the payoff period.

The debt is on schedule to be paid off in April of 2032.

The county makes debt payments in April and October.

County Auditor Tammy Vemmer said the April payment was made in March because it is supposed to be made in advance.

The payment was made to the Bank of New York Mellon Trust Co., and it included almost $1.4 million in principal and $548,513 in interest.

The October payment will be for interest only, and it will be for $541,592.

After the April payment, the outstanding principal balance is $37.1 million, and the remaining interest is $12.8 million.

Debt Burden

County officials have cited the heavy debt load as a budget challenge when it comes to providing services and giving employee raises.

On the April 8 election ballot, the county will ask voters to approve a use tax to generate additional revenue by taxing items that are bought out of state and brought back to Franklin County.

The 1.5 percent use tax would only apply when purchases exceeded $2,000 and when sales tax was not charged at the place of sale, officials have said. The use tax could also apply to some Internet sales.

The use tax revenue would be divided evenly between the county’s three sales tax funds of road/bridge, general revenue and law enforcement.

The county debt payments are paid out of several different county funds.

The debt for the Pave the County program is paid out of the road and bridge fund; sheriff’s office heating and air conditioning out of the sheriff’s office capital improvements fund; judicial center out of the building fund; government center out of the general revenue; and the old courthouse out of the building fund.