Supervisors get updates on bond funding for new annex and on bridge work

The Pearl River County Board of Supervisors received an update on their bond resolution for funding to begin construction on the courthouse annex building as well as an update on bridges during yesterday’s meeting.

Troy Johnston (pictured), of Butler Snow Law firm, informed the board that the advertising of the bond issuance for the annex building construction in the Poplarville Democrat newspaper did not receive any petitions against the bond issuance. Johnston stated this would allow the Supervisors to move forward with their plan to secure the bonds with a 25 year payback period if they approved the resolution that was placed before them. The financing, as stated at a previous board meeting, will go through the Mississippi Development Bank.

District 2 Supervisor Malcolm Perry said that he had learned during the meetings on the bond issuance financing that there will be a first call built in at ten years (or other calls later) to allow the county some options on how to proceed. Perry said he likes the option for the county to look at interest rates at ten years into the payments, and if interest rate has gone down, the county can refinance at a lower rate. Also at this first call, and subsequent calls, the county will have a chance to make a lump sum payment toward the amount owed, if it so desires, to lower the yearly debt service.

County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin explained that in years three and four, the county will have to pay approximately $200,000.00 more in debt service, but just for those two years. He stated that once those payments are made, the debt service goes back down to the nearly the same debt service ($830,000.00) the county has today and will be paying once the bond financing goes into effect. The county has set aside the money needed for the two years ($400,000.00 total) to pay the extra amount. Lumpkin reiterated that, contrary to what others have said in the public, there is no tax increase needed to fund this financing for the courthouse annex based on the approach the county is taking in securing this funding for twenty-five years through the Mississippi Development Bank.

Lumpkin also stated that the money is locked in at a fixed rate (capped) for the entire length of the payments (25 years) and will not change unless the county decides to take the option at one of the built in calls to refinance at a lower rate as noted by Mr. Perry.

Board President Sandy Kane Smith said that he has received a lot of calls from people in the bond funding industry wanting to sell their services to the county. Smith said he has met with some of them and they have all stated the same thing.

“You all (Pearl River County) do not have any debt. You are one of the few counties in that good of shape,” he shared.

Also, during yesterday’s meeting, County Engineer Les Dungan requested that the board accept and award two bids for bridge work to Pearl River Paving Company. Dungan stated that he was pleased that the bids came in well under his estimates for the work and the bids came from a contractor who has a solid record of performance with Pearl River County for the same kind of work.

The bid for the bridge replacement on Harry Sones Road was $319,997.00 and this work will use LSBP funding. The bid for the bridge replacement on Sones Chapel Road was for $484,068.40 and will be funded using state aid program money.

Dungan also asked the board to sign off on the completed work on Hickory Grove project to formally close the project and release the contractor from any further obligations.

Dungan told the board that the county had 36 bridges in the county that were using timber pilings when this replacement and repair program started. He said that there are still 13 bridges that need attention, but do not have a source of funding or how to fund those bridges. Dungan estimates the cost to replace those bridges is approximately $2.5 million dollars.

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