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Marina costs entail budget amendments
Commission refinances $1.5 million loan
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Liberty County commissioners recently refinanced the $1.5 million loan used to buy land for a marina in the county’s east end.  
“This just was the vehicle for renewing the loan on the purchase of the bank note,” commission Chairman John McIver said. “We have to renew the loan with the bank to carry the note until the loan becomes available.”
The short-term note the county took out in April at 3.67 percent interest matured on Dec. 31 and needed to be paid.
Kim McGlothlin, county finance officer, explained how commissioners took the short-term note because they wanted to keep the option of rolling the note into another bond issue from an outstanding letter of credit for MidCoast Regional Airport.
The tax digest was another pending variable. So the board just decided on the short-term financing through the calendar year.
“When we initially did the first note they were not sure what would happen at the end of December,” McGlothlin said.
It turned out the county could get a lower bond rate, at 3 percent interest if they just went with another note, rather than combining it with the airport.  
After paying off the short term note, the county needed to borrow the money again to replenish the general fund. Both the old and new notes are with The Heritage Bank.
The interest, $39,276, was budgeted in the current year budget. But no payments have been made on the principal.
Since the principal needed to be renewed, this year’s budget needed to be amended to reflect the new note.
“So your net expenses have not increased, however your overall budget has increased because I have to show this,” McGlothlin said during last week’s meeting. “This is basically a financial reporting requirement so that we don’t get hit in the audit for running over budget.”  
Commissioner Pat Bowen thought SPLOST funds were already earmarked for the project.
“The thought was to issue a longer-term note so that the new SPLOST had time to accumulate money to try and pay it all off or pay the interest off at the end of the year,” McGlothlin said.
“The money was borrowed to purchase the land, but the land is going to be paid for though the SPLOST,” McIver said.
No timeline has been set for the marina project.
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