09/05/11 — Public hearing on school bonds Tuesday

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Public hearing on school bonds Tuesday

By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 5, 2011 1:46 PM

On Tuesday morning, Wayne County residents will have the opportunity to be heard on the county's plans to finance two school projects by selling $15 million in bonds and to assume ownership of the school properties as collateral.

The public hearing before Wayne County commissioners will be held at 9 a.m. in their meeting room on the fourth floor of the county courthouse annex. Commissioners will be briefed on the agenda at 8 a.m., and the meeting will start at 9 a.m.

A second hearing, this one on a proposed amendment to the county zoning map, is scheduled for 9:15 a.m.

Also on the agenda, the county is expected to be asked to appropriate another $100,000 for the Wayne Action Teams for Community Health (WATCH) to help offset the loss of a Duke Endowment grant. The county budgeted $120,000 for fiscal year 2011-12.

Executive Director Sissy Lee Elmore will update commissioners on the non-profit organization's funding status. WATCH is in the third year of a three-year Duke Endowment grant that provides $200,000 annually.

The grant, which ends Dec. 31, pays for the salaries and benefits for the family nurse practitioner and support staff in the stationary clinic site at the Family YMCA.

According to information in the agenda, WATCH has ordered $9,229,344 in free medication for its patients with chronic diseases and has provided free laboratory services for the entire period of operation. The value of these services has been in excess of $1 million.

After the school bond hearing, commissioners are expected to consider approval of the financing documents and bid approval. The Wayne County Board of Education has recommended that Monteith Construction of Raleigh be awarded the $14.5 million bid for the work at Eastern Wayne and Norwayne middle schools.

Smith said he plans to recommend BB&T for the bond financing.

The property transfer and bond sale also must be approved by the Local Government Commission. That approval is expected to be sought by early October, and once the contracts are signed, possibly by November, construction could be under way by early January.

The county will use lottery proceeds to pay the principal on the debt. Local funds will be used to pay the interest.

However, the interest will be reimbursed by the federal government on an annual basis 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.

Monteith Construction's bid includes alternatives for items like an additional 20,000-square-foot classroom building for $1,963,000 and $250,000 in heating and air conditioning renovations to the cafeteria and gym at Norwayne and $227,000 for heating and air conditioning renovations to the cafeteria and gym at Eastern Wayne.

The base bid for both schools is $11,947,000. The alternates add another $2,576,200. Contingency and related costs account for another $560,696 and an estimated $81,500 in bond fees boost the total to $15,165,396.

Of that total, $15 million will be financed, while $165,396 would come from local sales tax reimbursement on items the county purchases for the projects.

Another $1,264,636 in additional costs fall outside of what would be paid for by the bonds making the total project $16,430,032. That includes $409,500 for furniture and equipment; $536,450 for design fees; $35,696 to R.N. Rouse for construction management; and a $35,000 nitrogen offset fee for Eastern Wayne (to be paid by the school system).

The $1,264,636 will be paid for by $125,068 in sales tax reimbursements to the county; $771,932 from the school's capital balance; and $367,636 from the school's capital outlay maintenance funds.

The capital balance is the remainder of $2.5 million that the county had appropriated for all five school projects.

The second hearing concerns the zoning of 29 acres of property owned by Brian Marcoux on the north side of Lancaster Road near Pikeville.

The county Planning Department in June was informed by Pikeville town board members that they had approved Marcoux' request to release the property from the town's extra-territorial jurisdiction.

The land is outside of a zoned area. However, County Planner Connie Price has recommended it be zoned Residential-Agriculture 20 -- the same as surrounding property.

In other business Tuesday, commissioners will:

* Be updated by Lee Johnson, Wayne Early Middle College High School principal, on high school reform initiatives

* Consider approval of a resolution recognizing Sept. 11 as a Day of Remembrance

* Consider a request by D. McKinley Price for a "Grady's Crossroads" sign to be erected at the intersection of N.C. 111 South and Zion Church Road. If approved, commissioners would send a letter to the state Department of Transportation requesting the sign.

* Consider adoption of a resolution proclaiming September as Sickle Cell Awareness Month.