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Panel takes first vote on bonds for subdivision roads
by Adam Elrod
aelrod@neighbornewspapers.com
September 25, 2013 08:57 AM | 1056 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Paulding County Industrial Building Authority took the first step toward issuing more than $4 million in bonds to complete roadwork in the county’s unfinished subdivisions.

The authority voted 3-2 to approve a resolution for the repairs.

Paulding County Board of Commissioners Chairman David Austin, Authority Vice Chairman Alan Shipp and Board Member Jim Underwood voted for the resolution; and Dallas Mayor Boyd Austin and Hiram Mayor Doris Devey voted against. A sixth member, Carolyn Wright, was absent.

Paulding County government is seeking the bond funding because 62 developments with residents in the unincorporated parts of the county have substandard roads, Post 3 Commissioner Tommie Graham said recently.

Issuing the bonds should bring in the $4.4 million it will take to fix the 44 miles of road, he said.

Without the funding, repairs likely will take five years for the county to complete and costs will increase, Graham said.

However, Austin said the county government should issue the bonds.

“I don’t see it as [the authority’s responsibility to do this bond,” he said.

Austin said his biggest concern is that the authority issued bonds for the county’s south sewer plant in 2003 which he said caused financial problems for the authority.

“It was a muddled transition in the beginning.” he said.

Authority Executive Director Blake Swafford said the 2003 bond payback terms were confusing and it took a few years to sort out the issue.

Devey said she was against the roadwork plan because, “I thought it was a bad business investment for the IBA.”

Underwood said bad economic times, which led developers to leave subdivisions incomplete, “have driven us into a difficult situation.”

He said he voted on behalf of the residents who are suffering from the effects.

A bond issue is the quickest way to fix the problem and there is a process in place to recoup the money, he said.

“These people are having to go on unimproved roads,” Underwood said.

Graham said the county is adding a “project improvement fee” to building permits in the areas in which the county is doing the road improvements. This should bring in 70 to 80 percent of the money to repay the bonds, he said.

Swafford said the fee will be based on the cost of fixing the roads in the subdivision for which the building permit is being issued. Graham said the maximum fee is $2,500.

The commissioners will have to vote for the bonds twice and the authority will vote a second time before the bonds are issued.

The authority’s first vote was a preliminary resolution which sets the rules of the bonds, such as the interest rates, Swafford said.

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