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County stocking up for east end annex
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Liberty County Administrator Joey Brown warned commissioners last week the county may have to issue bonds to assure continous construction on the $19.7 million justice center being built in downtown Hinesville.
With only about five months of construction costs stored up from the current sales tax, the county may need to issue bonds for work later on, Brown said at the commission’s mid-month meeting.
“So we have a few months to work on that bond issuance and try to finalize those costs,” Brown said.
The building is being funded by the county’s special purpose local option sales tax. The current term of collection of the 1 percent tax expires next month, when a new, five-year term kicks in.
Brown said he recently met with David Holton of Buckley & Associates and Bill Vickery of Pope Construction, along with McGlothlin and David Lucas of Sterne Agee.
Details from anticipated bond amounts should be available by the next mid-month meeting and for the facilities authority.
“It would give us the actual numbers we need to decide to finance or not,” Brown said.
Commissioners also are eyeing the Midway civic center to move forward with plans for an east end annex, including a library branch behind the old school’s cafeteria.
SPLOST 5, which starts in April, has $3,320,000 earmarked for the east-end annex project. But actual construction will not start until funds have accumulated.
Renovations include doing cosmetic work to the lunchroom, replacing HVAC units, asbestos removal and demolition of some of the wings.
“I hate to start spending money like that and we’re not getting some type of, the taxpayer is not getting some type of feedback,” Commissioner Pat Bowen said of Midway’s use of the facility.
Midway is using the old school’s administration wing as city hall under a 30-year lease that can be terminated by either party.
Midway is not charged for use and only pays power bill.
Midway agreed to put water and sewer to the site under the lease agreement. The city completed the work last year under a partial grant and funded the remaining costs.
“When we accepted the school [old Liberty Elementary], it was a win-win for us, to let them go in because otherwise it would’ve been demolished or vandalized,” Brown said. “They came to us and said, ‘Can we move in there temporarily until we can build a new city hall.’”
Midway Mayor Don Emmons said the city is looking for another place as quickly as possible.
“We know we have to move out of there,” Emmons said. “We will as we are able.”
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