08/15/11 — Hearing on school bonds to be set

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Hearing on school bonds to be set

By Steve Herring
Published in News on August 15, 2011 1:46 PM

Wayne County commissioners Tuesday morning are expected to schedule a public hearing for Sept. 6 at 9 a.m. on plans to sell federal Qualified School Construction Bonds to finance $15 million in construction and renovations at Norwayne and Eastern Wayne middle schools.

Another focus of the hearing will be the transfer of the school property to the county to secure the loan. The county will lease the property back to the Wayne County Board of Education. The school board last month approved the deed transfer and agreed to enter into the lease with the county.

The hearing will be held in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the county courthouse annex, 224 E. Walnut St.

Commissioners will be briefed on their agenda at 8 a.m. Tuesday and their meeting will start at 9 a.m. in their meeting room.

The agreement with the Wayne County Board of Education for the property transfer and the sale of bonds must be approved by the Local Government Commission, too. That approval is expected to be sought by the second week in October.

Once the bids are in and contracts signed, possibly by November, construction could be under way by early January.

Lottery proceeds will be used by the county to pay the principal on the debt, while local funds will be used to pay the interest.

The federal government will reimburse the interest to the county at the end of each year, making the bonds interest-free -- saving the county more than $750,000 annually in interest and over the 17-year life of the loan, a total of more than $12.75 million.

A work session on the bond program is scheduled for Tuesday as well.

Scheduling of a second public hearing, this one on the Wayne County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan, is also on the agenda.

That hearing is expected to be set for Sept. 20 at 9:15 a.m. in the commissioners' meeting room.

The plan is an analysis of natural hazards that may affect the county including flooding, drought, thunderstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes.

Its purpose is to establish goals and strategies that will help local government and the public to better prepare for the hazards. Much of the plan remains the same as the 2005 one and no hazards were added in the proposed 2011 plan.

The plan was first approved by commissioners in June 2010.

It has been approved by the N.C. Office of Emergency Management and by FEMA. The delay in approval on the state and federal level was because the city of Goldsboro was added to the plan after it had been locally approved.

That means all of the county's municipalities are part of the plan, said County Planner Connie Price. Including Goldsboro does not place any additional obligation on the county, he said.

All of the municipalities in the plan must also hold a public hearing and adopt it.

In other business Tuesday, commissioners will consider approval of a revised policy and procedures for naming county-owned properties and facilities.

County Manager Lee Smith, who presented the proposal to commissioners at their Aug. 2 meeting, said that the county lacked any defined policy for naming properties.

Smith said that the county has received some inquires concerning naming rights for the new Services on Aging building on East Ash Street and that he and his staff needed direction from the board.

The revised policy:

* eliminates the number of years that a person or business must have been involved in the county in order to have their name considered

* adds commissioners to the informal reviews by the county attorney, county manager and staff before a formal submission to commissioners

* allows the name (such as a nickname) identifying the person to be used and not just the person's formal name

* provides that commissioners may consider, on a project-by-project basis, the naming of county-owned properties based on financial contributions.

Two subdivision plats, both recommended for approval by the county Planning Board, are on the agenda:

* Gerald Hayes Beamon and Robert Bennett Rackley final; owner\developer, Beamon and Rackley; three lots in Stoney Creek Township on the east side of North U.S. 117 at its intersection with Stoney Hill Road.

* Ronald Jr. and Jennifer Waters final; owner\developer, Ronald Waters; one lot in Fork Township on the south side of Charlie Braswell Road approximately 2,500 feet west of Ebenezer Church Road.

Also on the agenda is a presentation on the Cherry Research Farm and a request by the town of Pikeville for approval to use fireworks at the town's Summer Blast on Sept. 10.