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10-23-13

Closing out an open road bond
credit card
$16 million in bonding authority

by Valerie Verkamp
Landmark reporter

Around $16 million of road tax bonding authority remained open, apparently not realized by county leaders until recently.

The process to close what in effect was an open credit card was undertaken Friday by the Platte County Commission.

This year marks 10 years since Platte County voters authorized the issuance of $45 million in general obligation bonds. In conjunction with the bonds, voters approved a road sales tax to cover the cost of the affiliated bond payments.

Rick McConnell, a finance attorney with Gilmore & Bell, appeared before the commission Friday, stating that over the past decade the county was issued $28,010,000 in bonds to fund roadways and other various transportation needs within the county.

The remaining sum of $16,990,000 in bonding authority was never issued and has simply remained on the books.

McConnell said it is important to close the remaining sum of the general obligation bonding authority, especially since voters approved the renewal of the 3/8th cent road sales tax this past April. With that renewal, an additional $20 million of bonding authority was approved by voters.

“Just with the timing of that and the fact that the program improvements of 2003 have been sort of wrapped up at some level, there is no need to issue these bonds and it's appropriate at this point for the county to go ahead and clear the books,” said McConnell.

Jason Brown, presiding commissioner, told The Landmark last week that county commissioners have asked McConnell to research other previous bonding authority arrangements the county has had to see if there are other similar situations where bonding authority is still remaining open. Some previous situations might include bonding authority that was issued in conjunction with the park sales tax, administration building bonding, jail tax bonding, and others.

“We need to check to see if there is any additional bonding authority hanging out there that some mischievous present or future county commission could do something with,” Brown said.