To The Daily Sun,
Recently, there has been many references to the $8 million bond for the new Belknap County Community Corrections Facility. Yes, it was passed by the Belknap County Delegation on Nov. 2, 2015, by a unanimous vote of those delegation members present. The interesting part of this story, not
being discussed, is that as of June 12, the Belknap County Commissioners have not yet applied for a long-term, fixed-rate $8 million bond.
Instead of locking into a bond in December 2015 when interest rates were historically low, commissioners DeVoy and Taylor have chosen to wait. Clearly not a wise decision since interest rates have risen substantially and according to national authorities-specifically the Federal Reserve Board interest
rates are expected to increase during calendar year 2017.
What Commissioners DeVoy and Taylor chose to do, was to borrow money to finance construction of the Corrections Center and pay interest only. Here is the problem with this approach. When the commissioners finally decide to negotiate, a rate for a bond, the market rate will be much higher. Hence, we as county taxpayers, will effectively be paying not only higher interest rates on the bond indebtedness, but paying interest a second time at a higher rate for the same project.
Here is a novel thought. If these two commissioners, DeVoy and Taylor had paid attention in 2015 by applying for the bond, they would have had funds to hire additional correctional officers, and this whole scenario of criticizing the delegation members for protection the taxpayers would be moot. In addition, by paying interest only for a year and half, we as taxpayer will end up paying interest a second time on the funds, with an eventual bonding commitment. The words “we are very conservative and we are trying to save the taxpayers money,” stated by Commissioner DeVoy. How so commissioner DeVoy? We, the taxpayers will get the opportunity to pay interest a second time, on the money necessary to build the correction facility.
Finally, on Nov. 2, 2015, on an affirmative vote of the delegation, a recommendation was offered to the Belknap County Commissioners “.... for a proposed Belknap County Corrections Center in the amount not to exceed eight (8) million dollars shall be structured with a level debt approach of combined
principal and interest over a period not to exceed 20 years at prevailing market rates available in the first quarter of 2016.” Yet, Commissioners DeVoy and Taylor, objected. They wanted to go 25 years, which in most instances would cause the interest rate to be even higher. This concept would actually cost the county taxpayers an additional $1 million based upon the figures presented by these commissioners.
Is this being conservative and trying to save the taxpayers money? You decide Mr. & Mrs. Taxpayer. You the taxpayers need to know the whole story, as Paul Harvey often used to say.