Prop P Ballot

The renovation of the county jail/911 center will be the first major building project since the completion of the twin government and judicial centers in a decade.

It also will require the county to take on more debt with two certificates totaling $25 million of participation.

Presiding Commissioner Tim Brinker said the first bond is expected to be issued in November for $10 million. A second bond for $15 million will be issued next summer after the bidding process is complete and true construction numbers are known.

Brinker added the county is hoping to get a 4 percent interest rate on the bonds.

Unlike in the past, the voters of Franklin County have approved a permanent funding stream to pay for the jail renovation in the form of Proposition P.

The half-cent sales tax is projected to generate $6 million per year. Half of that will go toward debt service on the jail and the other $3 million will go toward law enforcement salaries.

According to the county clerk’s office, the highest grossing month for a similar general revenue half-cent sales tax last year was November when consumers generated $663,940.

The lowest grossing month was October when only $333,346 came in.

If current economic trends continue, and depending on consumer confidence, the new tax should average $500,000 per month, or $6.5 million per year in new sales tax revenue.

Second District Commissioner Dave Hinson explained about $2.4 million annually will go toward debt service on the construction bonds. An additional $300,000 will go toward new jail staff and another $300,000 will go for 911 upgrades.

Debt 

By having a dedicated revenue stream, the county is taking less financial risk than it did between 2005 and 2008 when it took on about $32.5 million in debt with the construction of the badly needed government and judicial buildings in Union.

According to the 2018 county budget, in 2005, the county issued $6,910,000 in certificates of participation (COP) for the construction of the new administration building. The building was completed in 2007.

In 2007, the county issued $18,450,000 in COP, of which $7,205,000 was for construction of the judicial center completed in 2008.

The additional $11,245,000 was used for converting county gravel roads to hard surface.

In 2008, the county issued $13,885,000 in COP for additional construction projects including $1,412,019 for remodeling the historic courthouse, which was completed in 2010, $1.3 million went for updating the HVAC system at the jail and $10 million for the roads program.

An additional $1,172,981 went into a reserve fund.

In all, the COPs generated $39,230,000 in total debt.

Every year between 2013 and 2032, the county is making average payments of just under $3 million on the debt.

When the notes are paid off in April 2032, the county will have paid $53,745,093, which includes $14,515,093 in interest.

The payments are made each year on Oct. 1.