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7/9/2018 - Decatur County Council Public Hearing - Click here to print this information

The Decatur County Council held a public hearing Monday morning to consider Resolution 2018-10 on the matter of appropriating the proceeds of the sale of certain real estate to the Decatur County, Indiana Jail Building Corporation in an amount not to exceed the appraised value of $150,000, together with interest earnings thereon. The additional appropriation is for the purpose of the payment of costs of all or a portion of the acquisition, construction, improvement, and/or equipping of all or any portion of the new county jail and any related improvements, including preliminary expenses and the cost of issuing bonds of the Corporation. The appropriation is in addition to any appropriations provided for in the existing budget and tax levy. No one from the public addressed the council and Resolution 2018-10 was passed.

After the public hearing, Matthew Eckerle of Umbaugh and Associates led a discussion regarding the proposed lease rental revenue bonds for the jail project. He stated that the sale of bonds is the last official action to approve funding for the project. He pointed out that the first payment on the bonds would take place 2 years from the sale of bonds date on July 19th, 2018. He asked the council to consider the funds currently on hand from the local income tax to determine potential buy down to determine the bond amount. He presented two options to consider: $23.83 million and $18.22 million in bonds. In considering the options, the estimated annual special local income tax revenues will total about $2.8 million in 2018 and is projected around $2.9 million beginning in 2019. The local income tax can also be used to fund jail operations. The goal is to pay off the bonds in 15 years or less. Most organizations that buy the bonds would expect at least 10 years of payments before early payoff could take place. Based on the $23.83 million bond issue, the lease payments would be about $1,790,000 through the full term. Payments on the $18.22 million bond issue would be about $1,370,000 through the full term. The council approved selling $20,225,000 in bonds.

Bids for the bonds will be locked in at 11:00 am on July 19th. The county commissioners will then compare and rank the bids and get permission to award bond sales. The interest rates will be based on the county's bond rating which is expected to be received by July 11th. It is expected that interest rates will vary between 2.1 and 4.0 percent. Payments on the bonds will go through the county commissioners who will then direct the treasurer's office to pay the bills.

Decatur County Jail Commander Tony Blodgett then led a discussion regarding leasing a 48 bed portable temporary facility for the Decatur County Jail. The lease of the facility would be $500,000 per year for 5 years and then belong to the county. The cost would include all expenses, except utilities, to include the lease, staffing, and food. The lease could be paid through the public safety tax. The facility could then be moved to the new jail at a cost of about $80,000. It would provide a stopgap until the new jail is completed. It was pointed out that the county currently spends about $25,000 each month housing inmates in other facilities with the closest facility being 4 hours away. The portable facility, along with the new jail, could result in Decatur County accepting out-of-county inmates. The council members asked for the cost if they purchased the facility outright, rather than leasing. The Sheriff's Department will research the cost options and provide an answer to the commissioners during the July 16th meeting.

Tom Flemming-WTRE News

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