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IDA, school board close on deal for bus barn land
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The Effingham County Board of Education and the Industrial Development Authority have closed on their deal for a parcel of land in the Research Forest Tract.

The two entities agreed to a price of $375,000 for 25 acres in the northwest corner of the 2,700-acre Research Forest Tract, and about $318,000 went to Wachovia as payment on the IDA’s $7.3 million taxable bond.

Under the bond financing terms, that land has to be made for public use for 20 years and the school board’s use will fit the bill.

The school board will build a bus maintenance facility on the property, since that piece of land is centrally located to its schools. There were no restrictions put on the buffers.

“That had been kind of a hangup,” said IDA attorney Marvin Fentress.

The IDA also is looking at the interest rates it’s paying on the notes used to purchase the land at its I-16 holdings. The board has $10.9 million in non-bank-qualified loans, which carries a higher rate, but it can move up to $10 million of that to a bank-qualified rate next year.

The IDA also is using swaps — a financial tool created to leverage a loan against fluctuating rates — with its three separate loan packages with Wachovia.

“We’re in good shape now because we did do the swaps,” IDA CEO John Henry said, “in light of the current economic situation.”

Said Fentress: “The swaps are doing what they are supposed to do. You are not exposed to fluctuating rates.”