The Anson County Commission approved financing on a new Emergency Services Center June 5.
The county approved borrowing up to $4,700,000 for the facility. The proposed financing will be secured by a lien on the center and its associated land as well as the county’s promise to repay the money.
The facility would be 23,888 square feet and the County will also seek grants to pay for it.
Lawrence Gatewood said an examination of construction costs were roughly $150 per square foot which he said was “not out of line at all.”
“There is good debt and bad debt,” Commission Chairwoman Anna Baucom said. “Debt put me into a house and a car.”
She said in 2006 the county had a debt of roughly $5.9 million or $255 per capita while in 2011 the debt was $800,000 or $32 per capita. This would raise debt to roughly $204 per capita.
Payments on the facility could range from 2.3 percent interest over 10 years or 4.9 percent interest over 20 years or 3.25 percent to 3.75 percent over 15 years.
Gatewood said the Commission did not plan to raise taxes during that time “but it might become necessary.”
He discussed a series of measures the county hopes to use to improve revenues for the county, including raising the tax collection rate up from 92.68 percent, the current rate, to 95 percent, which was more common before the recession. He said a debt owed to Progress Energy will be paid off in 2015 and the county should start monetizing land owned by the county, after selling the timber on it. He also wants to continue selling old vehicles and equipment online.
Kenny Hildreth spoke during the public hearing saying that he thought the decision was made hastily and the Commission should be more prudent with tax dollars.
Gatewood said the county should know about the financing in August or September and ground could be broken in November.
Gatewood gave a brief presentation on the budget. The budget would be a total of $26,451,744 which is $1.8 million less than the 2011-2012 budget. Property taxes would stay the same at $0.767.
The budget would take $450,000 from the fund balance in order to balance the budget.
There would be $635,000 for capital projects including $183,250 for parking lot repair for South Piedmont Community College and roof repair of the Lockhart-Taylor Building, $150,000 to repair the facade of the Belk Building, $250,000 to renovate the interior of the courthouse and $70,000 for a new maintenance building at Little Park.
Anson County Schools would receive $3,775,880, the same amount as in 2011-2012. South Piedmont Community College requested $1.1 million and will receive $794,149, the same amount as 2011-2012. County employees will receive a 2.5 percent cost of living increase and the county would restore its contribution to 401k programs from two percent to three percent.
The Commission will hold a second public hearing on the budget June 21 at 6 p.m. A meeting to approve the budget is planned for June 22 at noon.
Sherri Knotts received permission to film a few scenes from a feature film in the Anson County Courthouse. The title of her film is “The Community”. Filming would be July 21 and July 22. The movie features a trial and is about a politician with skeletons in his closet.
Aside from scenes in the courtroom, she also wants shots of the exterior courthouse and of the jury deliberating. She described the film as “family friendly” and expects a PG rating. Knotts is the owner of Knardirell & Company, a performing arts organization.
Former County Commissioner Neil Jones spoke to the Commission asking for a resolution about the board that governs mental health in Anson and other counties in the state. He said currently he and Commissioner Ross Streater have seats on the board but proposed legislation might reduce that number. The Commission approved a resolution asking for the county’s representation on the board to stay at two people to be used as political leverage in the General Assembly.