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Monroe County on track to close on USDA loan in July

$15.5 million to set finance new county jail

T-L Photo/JANELL HUNTER County Risk-Sharing Authority insurance representatives Brian Longwell and Ali Redmond update the Monroe County Board of Commissioners on county employees’ use of the programs risk management services.

WOODSFIELD — Monroe County Auditor Pandora Neuhart questioned the board of commissioners Monday about funding for the county’s new jail, saying she said she was “shocked” to learn the county may not have a loan in place to permanently finance the $15.5 million project.

The new jail is on track to be completed by December and, according Christine Crowell of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the county will receive a 40-year, low-interest loan to finance the project.

In December 2016, the USDA obligated $15,500,000 to the county; however, the loan has not officially closed. But Crowell said there should be no delay in securing funding for the project. The county’s short-term $15 million note matures and must be paid off by Sept. 10, and there were questions last week as to whether the long-term USDA financing would be in place by that date.

Crowell notified the commissioners via email Thursday that the only thing they need to provide before securing the loan is a legal description and closing instructions.

The $15,500,000 loan will be financed at a 2.375 percent fixed rate for 40 years. Crowell assured the board the funds would be in place by Sept. 10, and that closing likely will happen at the beginning of July.

“We are just working to figure out the mechanics of our closing. There should be no need for you to roll over the note because those funds have already been obligated to the county,” Crowell told the commissioners Monday by phone.

“The project is approximately 40 percent complete, with an estimated completion date of December 27, 2017. The (USDA) inspector is very pleased with how the project is going.”

Crowell said the funding is already in the state of Ohio and will only take two days to transfer from the state to the county’s bank account before Sept. 10.

“These are the kind of things we work on with every project behind the scenes. We work with the attorneys to make sure that we are ready for everything,” Crowell noted. “We’ll make sure everything is done in plenty of time before closing happens. … I just wanted to confirm that we did, in fact, obligate those loans in December and that was something that our office was very instrumental in getting those funds for Ohio. We are very glad that the county is the beneficiary of the lowest interest rate we’ve ever had.”

In other county business, County Risk-Sharing Authority insurance representatives Ali Redmond and Brian Longwell presented the commissioners with their 2016 “Stewardship Report.” CORSA is a service program of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio that offers county employees “broad coverage, comprehensive risk management services, stability and financial strength at an extremely competitive cost.”

Redmond said the county is doing well at taking advantage of risk management services, which are all offered free to members.

Services include human resource helpline research, a defensive driving class, motor vehicle reports, grants and law enforcement seminars.

“These services prevent losses and therefore save members money by reducing program costs and deductible payments.Many also decrease the workload of members’ staff, reduce operating expenses, and improve efficiency. Given today’s budgetary challenges, we believe it is important for members to be aware of value of services that are provided by CORSA at no cost,” the report said.

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