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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Sims, Journal staff

Commission approves bond issue to refinance Justice Center

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

Centerville area resident Fred Kautt, left with his back toward the camera, asks the Linn County Commission to intall a second camera in the commission room so that people watching the live-stream recording of meetings would be able to see the audience and the face of the person speaking at the podium. (Linn County Kansas Live Stream)

By Charlene Sims,

MOUND CITY – The Linn County Commissioner met with Joey McLiney, bond consultant for the county, on Monday, Nov. 27 to discuss the upcoming bond sale on Wednesday, Nov. 29. The sale will be to refinance the county’s bonds on the Justice Center that was completed last year.

McLiney started by congratulating the commission because they got an A+ rating on their bond issue. He said that the county earned it because of strong management and the county received an A+ rating on everything. The only worry they had on this new debt was that the county’s assessed valuation was in the top 10 taxpayers. He pointed out that the top taxpayer is the La Cygne Generating Station owned by Evergy, and that was something commissioners already knew.

McLiney told the commissioners that was a “dynamite rating.” We will get a concern from them. We received one two years ago when they put us on negative credit watch and the only reason for that is because our audits are late.

He said that the county is still waiting on the audit for the year ending Dec. 31, 2022. One of the reasons that he had not gone to market earlier for the bonds is because of waiting for the audit.

McLiney told the commissioners that the bonds also qualified for insurance and he will go to bid on these bonds on Wednesday, Nov. 29 at 10:30 a.m.

“So Wednesday, I will have the final interest rate. I suspect it will be right in the 6% range, which is exactly what we have been anticipating,” said McLiney.

Commissioner Hightower moved that the county approve resolution 2023-48 for refinancing the county’s bonds on the Justice Center. The motion was approved unanimously.

By refinancing a portion of the bonds on the jail, the county is allowed to take advantage of additional income potential by receiving more federal prisoners. This part of the debt had limited how many federal inmates can be housed without a penalty on the financing. When this debt amount is refinanced with a different kind of bond, the county will not be limited as to how many federal prisoners it can house.

In other business, the commissioners:

• Heard from Centerville resident Fred Kautt that it would be helpful to people viewing the commission and planning board meetings to have a camera in the front of the room so the face of the person at the podium was visible and so viewers could see the audience.

Commission Chair Danny McCullough said that the commission had discussed this in the past but had not made a decision.

• Discussed the county employee Christmas dinner and awards on Dec. 12 at the Christian Church in Mound City.

• Approved a bid from Central Salt Company for road salt at $69.79 per ton for up to 25 loads. Public Works Director Shaun West said that the county would need to get six load now and the rest as needed. He said that 20 loads at that price would be $34,895.

• Accepted on a vote of 2 to 1 the application for assistance from Linn County Rural Water District No. 2 to use the county transportation bus for board members to attend an annual Christmas dinner in Louisburg. Commissioner Jim Johnson voted against the measure.

West noted that this has been done in the past before the assistance application was set up. He also stated that several of the board members were seniors.

• Learned that the county would be starting the Linn County Park lagoon project this week, weather permitting, and that several other projects were being worked on.

• Learned that the Queens Road project in the state wildlife area was on hold until West redrew the project showing the responsibilities of the county and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks in the project. West said that the county engineering consultant indicated that the road signage for the problems on the road were sufficient for now.

• Heard from Lee Greenwald, Baird Holm law firm representing EDF Renewables, who said that moratoria are sometimes helpful but he also ask the commission put some time limits on the moratorium, for example, one year or until the regulations are adopted. Alternately, he suggested the commission set some schedules for the planning commission to make some recommendations to keep the process moving.

Greenwald also added information about the utility line. He said that representing the developer he could say that a solar developer wouldn’t be doing those borings and things in advance of the conditional use permit process. He said obviously he could not speak as to who was doing that, but it would be separate from the solar moratorium.

• Were reminded about the Kansas Association of Counties (KAC) convention on Dec. 5 thru 7 in Wichita.

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