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County OKs jail financing
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Effingham County commissioners have approved a financing plan for the proposed expansion of the jail and sheriff’s administrative offices.

Under the terms of the resolution, the county will convey the property to the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia.

The county will lease the land back from the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia, through financing provided by Merchant Capital. The county’s rent payments will be used to pay back the certificates.

“We have to know the resolution has been approved and signed, so we can send it to the investors who have made commitments to buy the bonds from us,” said Trey Monroe of Merchant Capital.

The new jail was deemed as a tier 1 project under the special purpose local option sales tax. With the bond sale package, the county’s out-of-pocket costs will be $888,481. The 2012 SPLOST is expected to provide $16 million over the life of the five-year extension, and there is almost $870,000 from the 2007 SPLOST and another $428,000 from a current jail construction fund.

The anticipated construction cost is $16.41 million, and the county will borrow $14.98 million through the sale of bonds. The bonds sale will put $16 million into the county construction fund, in order to get the jail built, and the total debt service is $16.7 million. The total project cost is pegged at $17.3 million, and the county’s interest rate on the bonds is 1.21 percent.

“The timing was very beneficial,” said County Administrator David Crawley. “We were able to be very flexible, and Trey was able to save us $91,000.”

With the resolution passed, the financing will assist with cash flow, according to county officials. The financing also will allow the cities to receive SPLOST contributions while the new jail is being built. The certificates will enable the project to be financed through a lease-purchase agreement at a low interest rate.

Crawley said the county is subdividing a portion of the property being conveyed to the ACCG.

The arrangement with ACCG is similar to the deal the county and the ACCG entered into for the judicial complex.

Without Chairman Dusty Zeigler and Vice-Chairman Reggie Loper on hand, the other four commissioners had to approve the resolution unanimously.