$24+ Million Bond Passes First Reading

FAIRFIELD – In a move aimed at enhancing the county’s 10-year economic development plan, Fairfield County voted 7-0 Monday night on first reading of an ordinance to issue more than $24 million in bonds.

The funds, according to Tiffany Harrison, Director of Fairfield Economic Development, are the foundation of phase 3 of the four-phase 10-year plan, launched by Council in 2009. Most importantly, Harrison noted, the bond comes with no tax increase for Fairfield County taxpayers.

Phil Hinely, County Administrator, explained before the meeting that the $24.06 million in bonds Council voted on Monday night aren’t necessarily “new” bonds, but are a “rolling over” of the 2009 bonds that kick-started the 10-year plan. Therefore, he said, they don’t come with a tax increase.

“If we didn’t do it that way, we would have to issue new bonds,” Hinely said, “and that would increase taxes.”

Reviewing the progress of the plan so far, Harrison told Council that Phase 1 had involved the planning and funding of an economic development product and workforce development. That included the County’s partnership with Midlands Technical College and their QuickJobs training facility, opened in 2011, and the planning of the Walter Brown II (WB2) and Fairfield Commerce Center (FCC) industrial parks. Phase 2 involved the development of actual sites and planning for water and sewer infrastructure. That included the construction of a speculative building at WB2, which has since been purchased by Elite Electronics Systems. A second building was completed last year, Harrison said.

“Eighty percent of all projects begin their search looking for an existing building,” Harrison said. “It is critical for us to have an existing building on our industrial corridor.”

Phase 3 will not only continue the development of the County’s two industrial parks, but will also address the County’s recreational needs and upgrade some of the County’s existing facilities and public safety equipment. Harrison said the County will conduct a needs assessment survey for water and sewer, economic development, schools, the Courthouse, Fairfield Memorial Hospital, recreational facilities, the Sheriff’s Office and other priorities, as identified.

Breakdown of the $24.06 million bond

Economic Development

$3 Million – WB2 clearing and speculative building

$6 Million – Phase II of FCC

$3.5 Million – Phase I of water & sewer development from Peach Road to Exit 41

Quality of Life

$3.5 Million – Phase I of regional parks in each district ($500,000 per district)

Public Safety

$1 Million – Mandatory communications upgrades

$1.9 Million – Re-wiring and new heat/A/C for Courthouse

$1.69 Million – Re-wiring, new heat/A/C for Administration Building and Sheriff’s Office

$100,000 – $700,000 – Upgrade one fire station per district

Administrative Requirements

$1.6 Million – Reserve Fund

$1.17 Million – Cost of bond issuance, insurance, etc.

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