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County to issue $8.4 million in bonds

Decatur County was successful this week in raising $8.4 million for bonds it will use to pay for future SPLOST projects, representatives of the company that handled the sale told county commissioners Thursday.

Representatives from Merchant Capital LLC, a company with offices in Montgomery, Ala., and Atlanta, Ga., said the county’s good credit rating helped secure such a large amount.

Citizens agreed to allow the county government to issue up to $12 million in general obligation bonds when the fifth local Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax was approved last year.

The bonds, which mature between 2010-2015, have a net interest rate of 2.6574 percent. They will be repaid using SPLOST money the county will raise during the next six years.

In the unlikely event the money could not be raised through sales tax receipts, county commissioners would have to raise the county’s ad valorem tax.

Three interest-bearing accounts will be set up to handle the bonds and related SPLOST projects. The $8.4 million will initially be deposited into an account with Regions Bank, County Finance Director Carl Rowland said. Merchant Capital representatives encouraged county leaders to reinvest unallocated money in that account to make money on it while it sits idle.

As projects begin, money will be transferred into a construction fund account, which will be used to pay bills associated with each project, Rowland said.

Commissioners agreed to create that account with Park Avenue Bank. As sales tax money is remitted by the state government, the county will deposit it into an account with First Port City Bank. All of the accounts were bid out to local banks, Rowland said.

The bonds will be issued when the sale closes on Thursday, March 19.