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Committee considers repayment plan for cost of career technology center

Committee considers repayment plan for cost of career technology center

Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 9:03 pm
By: John Brannon Messenger Staff Reporter

 

By JOHN BRANNON Staff Reporter While ground was broken in October for the new career technology center at Obion County Central High School and four new classrooms for vocational students at South Fulton High School, bids were opened just last week for the work. “It’s something we’ve been needing a long time. It will really boost our career technology programs,” said Obion County Director of Schools David Huss. “Bids were opened Dec. 29. It appears we’re going to be within our budget of $4.25 million.” On Monday morning, Huss addressed the Obion County Budget Committee when it met at the Obion County Courthouse. County commissioner Danny Jowers chairs the committee, which met to process several items of county business. Seeks approval Huss sought committee approval for securing $3 million from the county.The funds would underwrite a large portion of construction costs. But there’s a catch. By whatever name it’s known, the words “loan” and “promissory note” won’t apply. “The school board does not have authority to borrow funds,” Huss said. “What we had presented to us was a promissory note for paying these funds back. We don’t have a problem with making the payments on the note, transferring the money back to debt service when payments come due. We had agreed to do that from the beginning. The board does not have authority to borrow money, and that’s essentially what a promissory note is. “It’s just going to be an agreement to transfer the funds back, or something of that nature. I don’t know what the attorneys will come up with, as far as having something in writing.” A repayment plan provides for the “loan” to be repaid over a 10-year period. Huss said he hopes it can be accomplished in six or seven years. “Principal payments will be $250,000 at a minimum,” he said. Meanwhile, he added, school year 2009-10 has been “a great year” thus far. The county school system has a total enrollment of about 4,000 students. On motion, the committee approved Huss’ request and forwarded it to the county commission to consider at its Jan. 19 meeting. Other issues Included in the public business transacted by the budget committee Monday were: • Medical investigators. • Medical investigators. Obion County Mayor Benny McGuire told the committee a move is under way to appoint two medical investigators to assist medical examiner Dr. Kirk Stone. They would fill in for Stone when he is unable to respond to a call for medical examiner services in the county. McGuire said the two prospects have yet to accept the county’s offer; therefore, he is not ready to release their names. “They’ll be paramedics and they’ll have all the necessary schooling,” he said. “I would recommend we pay them $75 per body.” The budget committee voted to refer the matter to the county commission for necessary action. • Matching funds. Everett-Stewart Regional Airport manager Jo Ann Speer addressed the committee and asked for approval to seek a 10-year, no-interest $300,000 loan from Gibson Electric Membership Corp. The Aeronautics Division of the Tennessee Department of Transportation has approved a $3.2 million grant to the airport; the funds will be used to extend the airport runway from its present length of 5,000 feet to 6,500 feet, thus enabling it to receive corporate aircraft. Local matching funds for the grant total $287,000. The committee approved the request and forwarded the matter to the county commission for action at its Jan. 19 meeting. • Countywide fire protection. County commissioner and budget committee member Jerry Grady expressed his displeasure with the snail’s-pace progress of implementing a countywide fire protection plan. “It’s time for us to get it over with and move on to something else,” Grady said. “The agreement that the county court passed and supposedly had with the fire chief has been on the table about six months and is not moving along. “The first reading was held in November. Then the county court was supposed to have a reading in January so it would be enacted. Now, it’s been delayed until the March meeting of county commission. “It seems someone is delaying it all the time. It’s time to implement it or forget it,” Grady said. Published in The Messenger 1.5.10

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