Board Elects New Officers, Hears from Bond Attorney

With the swearing in of new member during their Nov. 20 meeting, the Fairfield County School Board also elected new officers for their 2012-2013 session. Newly elected members William Frick (District 6) and Paula Hartman (District 2), as well as re-elected member Annie McDaniel (District 4) took their oaths of office as the meeting got under way. Frick then declined a nomination by McDaniel for Board Chairman, a position that then went to Beth Reid (District 7). Frick was later elected Vice Chairman on a 4-3 vote over outgoing Chairwoman Andrea Harrison (District 1). Harrison was then unanimously elected Board Secretary.

The Board then received a report from Brent Jeffcoat, a bond attorney with the Pope Zeigler law firm in Columbia, and Mike Gallager, of Southwest Securities, on options for the District to raise money for a new career center.

Gallager said the District could issue three separate bonds over the next three years to raise the approximately $15 million estimated to be necessary to fund the new facility. Jeffcoat said issuing three bonds would allow the District to raise the fund without the need for a referendum and without millage rates going up to more than 22 mils.

Bonds issued in 2013 and 2014, Gallager said, would generate $1.5 million each, and a bond issued in 2015 would tack on an additional $12 million. From the 9.9 millage rate at which the District is currently taxing, the initial bonds would take that rate to 13 mils. By 2016 through 2025, the rate would be back down to 11 mils, Gallager said.

“This does get you very tight on your bond-debt capacity for a couple of years out,” Jeffcoat said.

“We don’t want to push you right up to the absolute edge,” Gallager added. “The last thing we want to do is build a new building and not be able to have it adequately equipped.”

McDaniel noted that the District was issuing operating bonds each year, and Gallager said that was not included in his calculation of proposed millage rates. The annual bonds would add about 9 mils to the original figures, he said.

Jeffcoat said future tax revenues from the new reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station were also not included in this plan, as they were not expected to begin impacting the County until, at earliest, 2016.

The Board also voted to move their December meeting to Dec. 11. The meeting will be held at Fairfield Central High School at 6 p.m.

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