Commissioners Refinance Bonds – The North Platte Bulletin
Lincoln County commissioners agreed Monday to refinance the county’s jail bonds in 2017, taking advantage of interest rates before they rise.
The commissioners pulled the trigger for the refinance at the meeting, saving the county about $70,000 in interest, according to the company handling the process, DA Davidson.
A few months ago, bond interest rates were at all-time highs, but interest has since risen due to inflation, company representative Andy Forney said. The consumer price index has climbed 7.5% over the past year. On the world stage, the impending conflict between Russia and Ukraine is driving up oil prices, which in turn is driving up inflation.
Interest rates generally rise with inflation, Forney said during a conference call with commissioners.
Refinancing arrangements are already in place. Forney said now is the earliest refinancing could begin under a previous agreement.
The new bond interest rate should be around 1.5%. The bonds will expire in 2029.
Church Tax Exempt Status
In other cases, commissioners considered a tax exemption request from New Life Assembly, the church that purchased the former Sun Mart/Francis Square building near Francis St.
New Life previously merged with the First Assembly of God Church at 808 West Philip.
New Life’s Jeff Baker said the First Assembly Church eventually closed, although New Life used the building for a time and obtained a rezoning permit to allow it to be used as a medical clinic if a buyer was interested. . New Life has also begun the extensive process of moving or selling personal property and building equipment.
More recently, the North Platte Baptist Church under the leadership of Pastor Bill Reeves leased the building and is currently renovating it for use as a preschool daycare. The Baptist Church is considering youth group activities there, with tentative plans to use the parsonage as well.
Baker applied for the building tax exemption, but missed the deadline.
During the discussion, Baker said the Baptist church is actively remodeling itself.
“They jumped in with both feet,” he said.
The commissioners decided to table the matter and conduct further research. Commissioner Chris Bruns was absent on Monday. The Commissioners want the full Board of Directors present to discuss and make a decision.
Discussion of the church’s request took longer than expected, so the next item was also tabled, a request for additional funds for the defense attorney in drug court – a diversion program for drug addicted offenders.
Roads Superintendent Job Description
The commissioners tweaked a job description for the superintendent of county roads, adding sentences to clarify that the superintendent is an “at-will” employee who can be fired on the spot for negligence or infractions. Additionally, candidates must have a Class A Highway Superintendent license before a certain time to get the job. And, more duties than those stated in the job description could be given to the Superintendent of Highways by the Commissioners.
The board voted 4-0 to approve the description and have it published. Commissioner Jerry Woodruff said the county has already received several applications from qualified candidates, but wants to advertise widely to ensure anyone interested in the position has a good chance of applying.
In other cases, council discussed other improvements to the commissioner’s meeting room, including microphone volume, painting and displaying a county seal on the wall, obtaining a new American flag and the making of arrangements to broadcast the meetings to the public.
Commissioner Michaela Wuehler said the Hershey School Carpentry Shop may be able to make the county seal.
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