Tag Archives: Public Facilities Authority

Zero owed in 2010; why $8.9 million owed now on county palace? @ LCC 2012-12-11

If Lowndes County owed $0 (zero dollars) on the county palace in November 2010, why are we paying on $8,965,000 in bonds for it in December 2012? If that palace was “100% Paid by SPLOST” in 2010, why in 2012 is the county pledging our property tax dollars to pay those bonds?

Zero balance on the county palace?

In November 2010:

$22,380,000
Judicial Building Cost

$6,728,000
Administrative Building Cost

100%
Paid by SPLOST

$0
Balance Owed

So says a double-page flyer about “the Lowndes County Judicial & Administrative Complex” Flyer from November 2010 produced by the Valdosta Daily Times for Lowndes County in 2010 and signed “Highest regards, Joe Pritchard, County Manager”. There’s no dateline, but it invites the public to a dedication of the Complex “on Friday, November 12, 2010.”

Preliminary Official Statement Dated November 20, 2012 from Morgan Keegan about the $8,965,000 in Refunding Revenue Bonds (Lowndes County Judicial/Administration Complex) Series 2012, which says this:

The Bonds are payable solely from payments to be made by Lowndes County, Georgia (the “County”) pursuant to an Intergovernmental Contract, dated as of December 1, 2012 (the “Contract”), between the Issuer and the County. Under the Contract, the County has agreed to levy and collect an annual tax on all taxable property located within the County as may be necessary to produce in each year revenues which are sufficient to make the payments required by the Contract.

So which is it? Continue reading

Videos @ LCC 2012-12-11

Moody and the Chamber won, rural residents got wasted, and taxpayers still didn't get to see a single thing the Lowndes County Commission voted on last night in 45 minutes (very long for them) in front of the biggest audience I've ever seen there.

They appointed John "Mac" McCall to ZBOA. They revised the alcohol ordinance with some unspecified "changes to the fee schedule", and added another alcohol restriction to the Lake Park rezoning before approving it. They approved the solid waste ordinance and granted a waste collection monopoly to a company from New York City despite all known public input being against it. Two more people spoke against it in Citizens Wishing to Be Heard. Gretchen Quarterman recommended adding all the appointed Boards and Authorities to the county's calendar. Commissioners accepted applicant's withdrawal of the rezoning request near Moody AFB and tabled indefinitely the related zoning code amendment. They approved rezoning for the Naylor Dollar General. Commission approved four Decorative Lighting Special Tax Districts (forgetting it was supposed to be a public hearing), and a refund for one that wasn't. Danny Weeks got approved a new netclock and new phones for the 911 center, and he and his staff got an award. The library railroad continues, the bonds renegotation was approved with about $2 million savings and some legal questions, the Annex has asbestos but they'll deal with it, and after Friday's demolition ceremony there will be a going-away reception for Chairman Paulk, and Bill Slaughter will be the new Chairman. You missed all that and more at yesterday's Commission meeting.

Here's a video playlist of the Regular Session, followed by the agenda with the videos linked into it.

Update 2014-04-09: Fixed embedded video link.

Regular Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 11 December 2012.

For reference here are the videos of yesterday morning's Work Session. And here is the agenda with links to the videos and some notes.

Continue reading

Why did the county use bonds and not GEFA? @ LCC 2012-12-11

Regarding the refinancing the county is bragging about to save a million dollars, and that they're going to vote on tonight at 5:30 PM, a memory ping reminded me that Hahira got a GEFA loan for $431,777 a water well this August, at zero percent interest during construction, and then 1% during the 20 year repayment period. Is the county's bond deal better than that?

GEFA is the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority, and it's not just Hahira that has gotten water project loans through GEFA. According to GEFA PR of 13 May 2011, GEFA Approves Environmental Infrastructure Projects Totaling $60.7 Million for Seven Georgia Communities, just this year others included "Cobb, Cook and Newton Counties; Cusseta-Chattahoochee County; and the cities of College Park, Ludowici and Valdosta."

The city of Valdosta was approved for a CWSRF loan of $18,500,000 to finance phase two of the Mud Creek Water Pollution Control Plant project, which includes increasing capacity from 3.2 million gallons per day (GPD) to 5.7 million GPD, and additional improvements and modifications to the facility. Valdosta will also design a new solids treatment system. The city of Valdosta will pay 3 percent interest on the 20-year loan for $18,500,000.

So why is the County of Lowndes having to float bonds? And are bonds on the commercial bond market really a better financial deal for the county?

For that matter, where's the public notice with agenda of the 4PM meeting today of the Lowndes County Public Facilities Authority?

-jsq

Videos @ LCC 2012-12-10

A surprising amount of discussion at yesterday morning’s Lowndes County Commission Work Session, on ZBOA appointment, alcohol Sunday sales, rezoning next to Moody, and more. They said nothing about the solid waste ordinance, however; maybe they’ll table that loser again. They vote tonight:

REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2012, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street — 2nd Floor

Here’s a video playlist of the Work Session, followed by the agenda with the videos linked into it.

Work Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 10 December 2012.

Here’s the agenda, this time with links to the videos and some notes.

Continue reading

Refinancing Bonds and the Public Facilities Authority @ LCC 2012-12-10

More than a million dollars will be saved by refinancing county bonds, the Chairman and staff indicated at yesterday morning’s Lowndes County Commission Work Session. Congratulations! But who is this shadowy Lowndes County Public Facilities Authority that is responsible for that?

8.i. Refunding Revenue Bonds

County Manager Joe Pritchard said the county was refinancing two bond packages, for the Public Facilities Authority and for the Central Valdosta Development Authority. County Attorney Walter Elliott said the Public Facilities Authority was meeting 4PM tomorrow (now today 11 Dec 2012) to approve an ordinance similar to what the County Commission was being asked to approve Tuesday night. There’s also a purchase agreement with the underwriter, in the packet only the board gets to see. Chairman Ashley Paulk said he spoke Friday to somebody named Mr. Bucky Kensey(?) who wouldn’t tell him a number but said the bond market had moved in the county’s favor. The Chairman also said:

I want the public to understand these are not new bonds these are old bonds that are at a higher interest rate that are going to be refinanced at a lower rate, and I believe the last savings was close to a million dollars.

The Chairman indicated Mr. Kensey(?) thought there would be a pleasant surprise with even more savings than that.

At their 12 June 2012 Regular Session the Commission appointed to the Lowndes County Public Facilities Authority Joseph Stevens (they didn’t say, but maybe Joseph G Stevens CPA), Steve Gupton (presumably J. Stephen Gupton, Attorney for the Lowndes County Industrial Authority), and Lowndes County Commissioner Crawford Powell (to the seat previously held by Commissioner Richard Lee). Who are the other Authority board members? The VDT claimed “Powell abstained from the vote.” Neither he nor the Chairman said that when they voted. According to the Commission’s minutes of 25 May 2010, they appointed Harry B. Sullivan and Antonio Henderson. The VDT reported 22 May 2007 that:

The Commissioners reappointed Antonio Henderson and Harry Sullivan to the Lowndes County Public Facilities Authority. Their terms will expire May 31, 2010. Joseph Stevens was appointed, and his term will expire May 31, 2009.

So that’s five members; is that all of them? Apparently yes. In Preliminary Official Statement Dated November 29, 2012

LOWNDES COUNTY PUBLIC FACILITIES AUTHORITY (GEORGIA)
$8,965,000*
Refunding Revenue Bonds
(Lowndes County Judicial/Administration Complex)
Series 2012
$7,145,000*
Refunding Revenue Bonds
(Lowndes County Water and Sewerage Project)
Series 2013

So, we’re paying more for the county palace than we are for county water and sewer. Anyway, on page 4 we find:

LOWNDES COUNTY PUBLIC FACILITIES AUTHORITY
Members
Antonio Henderson
Harry B. Sullivan
J. Stephen Gupton, Jr.
Joseph G. Stevens
Crawford Powell

That Authority met 8 October 2012 in Room 248 at the Lowndes County Administrative Building (no street address given):

The primary purpose of the meeting is for the Authority to consider a Bond Resolution to provide for the issuance of Refunding Revenue Bonds for the purpose of refunding in part Public Facilities Authority Revenue Bonds (Lowndes County Water and Sewerage Project), Series 2005, and Central Valdosta Development Authority Revenue Bonds (Lowndes County Judicial/Administrative Complex), Series 2003, to authorize and approve the execution and delivery of an Intergovernmental Contract with Lowndes County, and related purposes. The meeting will be open to the public in accordance with the Georgia Open Meetings Act.

They do not have a meeting listed in the same calendar for today.

Bond rating agency Moody’s reported 15 November 2012

NEW YORK, November 15, 2012 —Moody’s Investors Service has assigned a Aa2 rating and a stable outlook to Lowndes County’s (GA) $9.1 million Refunding Revenue Bonds (Lowndes County Judicial/Administration Complex), Series 2012 and $7.2 million Refunding Revenue Bonds (Lowndes County Water and Sewerage Project), Series 2013, both issued by the Lowndes County Public Facilities Authority. At this time, Moody’s has also affirmed the Aa2 ratings to $15.5 million of general obligation bonds and $193.7 million of bonds issued through the Hospital Authority of Valdosta and Lowndes County, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority, the Central Valdosta Development Authority and the Lowndes County Public Facilities Authority…

You know, the county could just tell us all this stuff, so we wouldn’t have to try to google it. It is our tax money they are spending, after all.

Here’s the video:

Refinancing Bonds and the Public Facilities Authority
Work Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE), Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 10 December 2012.

-jsq