Douglas County Board of Commissioners voted last month to delay authorization for accepting bids for the 2013 tax anticipation note after District 2 Commissioner Kelly Robinson called the action “premature.”
Robinson said his concerns were that the county had not looked at other options.
“We did not borrow [a tax anticipation note] in 2007,” said Robinson. “I understand what TAN is and that the money is cheap, but it won’t always be that way. We have to stretch ourselves and prepare for the future.”
District 4 Commissioner Ann Jones Guider, said, “I concur with Commissioner Robinson.
“I don’t like to borrow money, but we have to consider our cash flow. I think we’re doing pretty good,” she said.
Tax anticipation notes are short-term debt obligations issued in anticipation of being paid off with future tax collections, County Finance Director Jennifer Hallman explained.
Douglas County receives 5 percent of its revenues each month — a total of 45 percent — through September, according to Hallman.
This means that 55 percent of the county’s revenues do not come in until November, when most property tax bills are paid.
With the county expenses going out at a rate of 8 percent each month, tax anticipation note funds are used to make up the difference in ready funds.
According to Hallman, the county was prepared to accept bids to borrow $10.5 million in short-term revenues this year, a decrease from $16 million borrowed last April and $18 million in March 2011.
In other action, the commission, conducted a public hearing and voted unanimously to submit an application to the state Department of Community Affairs to expand the county’s Opportunity Zone
A second public hearing had been scheduled for the May 7 commission meeting due to previous division within the commission about the application.
Chris Pumphrey, county development authority director, said an expanded Opportunity Zone designation would provide state sales tax incentives to new companies locating in the county and creating new jobs.
The general scope of the project is to expand the redevelopment plan in order to address blight and underdevelopment along the southern portion of the Thornton Road corridor and a portion of the Lee Road corridor.
In order to qualify for Opportunity Zone status, an area must meet certain criteria according to census data, which includes having a poverty rate of at least 15 percent.
The targeted areas for opportunity zone designation are Lee Road at I-20, Sweetwater Industrial and Blair’s Bridge and Riverside Parkway which have many vacated industrial and business properties ripe for redevelopment and the jobs they would create.
“What we are trying to do is fill up those empty boxes,” said Commission Chairman Tom Worthan.