By Wayne Allen
The Scioto County Commissioners passed a resolution Thursday morning that would allow them to refinance the existing jail construction bond, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings.
“We’re basically refinancing that will result in an annual savings of approximately $27,533 a year and the savings over the life of the loan will be $440, 500,” said Mike Crabtree, chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners.
He said the original date of the loan was in 2004 and was used to construct the current Scioto county Jail. It was for $8,150,000 and currently sits as $4,950,545. In 2013 the commissioners took similar action and refinanced a bond along with paying off another.
Last year the commissioners approached the Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) about refinancing the Shelton Industries bond though the organization to obtain a lower interest rate. The SOPA board approved the measure, with the expected savings to be around $800,000 over the life of the bond.
“This was a refinance of the bonds associated with Shelton Industries project,” said Todd Book, SOPA chairman.
When asked what the bonds were initially issued for, Crabtree has been quoted saying, “It was for the Shelton (Industries) building, the co-signing of the Shelton building. Over the past eight years that I’ve been here, we’ve tried to issue court orders for the gentleman who was responsible for the debt to come and testify to his current financial status. We have sent certified letters and they have all been undeliverable.”
Crabtree said the county has not been able to do anything else in the way of eliminating the debt.
“We’re stuck with it, so we were trying to minimize something that was a bad deal to begin with,” Crabtree said. “The building is part of the old steel mill property (in New Boston). Unfortunately the loan was never tied directly to any property, it was tied to the business.”
Crabtree said once the business folded, there was nothing to sell to help to pay down the debt.
“We are stuck with a co-signed loan that started in 1998 and will run through 2025,” Crabtree said.
Also in 2013 the commissioners payed off a general purpose bond.
“A few years back, $500,000 was borrowed when the budget was tight to help make payroll,” Crabtree said. “This was discussed with one of the people that handle our bonds and my understanding was that was OK to do. That was one of the things they used to put us (Scioto County) in fiscal emergency.”
It is anticipated that the Scioto County Financial Planing and Supervision Commission will meet for the very last time on Feb. 20, when they will officially request release from from fiscal emergency status. The commission was scheduled to meet in January, but the meeting was delayed until Feb. 20.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.