The proposal to issue the jail bond before the actual costs are determined goes against not only standard practice in the issuance of municipal bonds, but also flies in the face of rationality.
At present, any real alternatives to the currently proposed jail — not only in terms of the size, design, location, and operating costs (i.e., energy costs/savings based on facility design), but alternatives to incarceration — have not been explored, so we do not know what the real cost would be.
Borrowing more than is actually needed would significantly add to the total cost of the bond, especially as there is a set time, usually not less than 10 years, during which the excess amount cannot be called (paid back). And the excess money could not be used for anything else; it would simply be an ongoing drain on the county’s finances, and hence an increased burden to taxpayers.
Adding a few months to the time line for issuance until these factors have been fully explored might well significantly lower the current proposed cost, so even if interest rates were to rise slightly, the net gain could be well worth the delay.
Also, the county’s residents would feel as if their concerns had been duly considered. I understand that may not be possible to hold a legally binding referendum on the proposed bond issue, but there is nothing to prevent the County from conducting a non-binding poll.
At a legislative workshop last night (March 8th) there appears to be a push for immediate issuance of the proposed multi-million dollar bond issue to pay for the jail. Afterwards, they would talk about amendments to the plan – size, alternatives, etc. This is backwards!! Once the money is borrowed, we pay interest on it, no matter if the final plans call for a lower cost building. The only given reason for this is to avoid rising interest rates; but any short-term interest rate rise is sure to be negligent, and far less than the cost of borrowing more money than we need. And getting the extra money back by calling the bond early, then issuing another one, would cost more than the negligible extra interest due to any delay in the original issue. CAL YOUR LEGISLATORS TODAY TO INSIST THAT THE VOTE ON THE BOND ISSUE BE POSTPONED FOR AT LEAST A MONTH. Phone numbers are listed on the Greene County site referenced in the last post.
Here is a link to the Greene County page (and links from there) about the proposed jail. It is a bit misleading because it does not note the alternatives to incarceration or total costs, among other things. It also implies that this is a done deal – IT IS NOT!! The links to newspaper articles tell a more complete story. We strongly recommend that every community hold a public meeting on the proposed jail, including those opposed to the current plan. Remember, this a very expensive project and we will be paying for years.
KEEP WATCHING! MORE TO FOLLOW.