The trail of tax money follows a complicated path before it goes toward a bond payment on the Weatherford College Wise County project.
But county officials hope to change that.
In their regular meeting Monday, county commissioners approved hiring the law firm Bickerstaff, Heath, Delgado, Acosta to aid in rewriting policies related to the project bonds and branch campus lease scenarios.
If the legislation is rewritten, it could streamline the financial process and enable the county to get a better rate on the bonds that supported the construction of the college’s brand-new campus on U.S. 380 near Bridgeport. The current rate is 7.985377.
“The legislative council is writing something to clear up the money trail a bit,” Burns said.
Currently, taxpayers pay the branch campus maintenance tax to the county. The county gives that money to the college, and the college uses a portion of that money to make lease payments. The county uses the lease payments to make the bond payments.
“Wall Street doesn’t like that,” Burns said. “We have a lease property without a trustee. There’s no protection for the bond holder, and that’s why our interest rate is so high. Wall Street doesn’t like it.”
Burns said if the county can get a better interest rate on the bonds, it would save $10 to $20 million down the road, plus the issue is of interest to several other college districts which would like to mimic Wise County’s arrangement.
Treasurer Katherine Hudson told commissioners that background checks are being completed on fire marshal applicants. There were four finalists for the job, which has been open since Marc Dodd resigned in April, but two withdrew their names.
“They should be finishing the background checks on the last two in the coming week,” Hudson said.
Interviews will be conducted at that time.
- approved raising the performance bond for Auditor Ann McCuiston from $10,000 to $20,000 since she has taken on additional responsibilities with adult probation;
- awarded a bid to Blue Star Materials in Chico for hauling road materials;
- awarded a $102,694 bid to RFIP in Oklahoma City for equipment and its installation at the towers used in the new countywide radio system;
- awarded a $22,613 bid to Meador Dodge in Fort Worth for pickups to be driven by constables;
- awarded a bid to Texas Road and Sign Supply for magnesium chloride;
- awarded a bid to Hanson, TXI and Jagoe-Public for pre-coat rock;
- renewed a group membership with CareFlite at a cost of $12 per employee annually
- awarded a $94,298.20 bid to ATC Freightliner for a 2013 Western Star (truck tractor);
- renewed a master agreement with Kimley-Horn and Associates;
- rejected bids for a used dump truck;
- renewed a contract with Alvord Medical for Wise County Jail;
- approved gas line easement requests for County Roads 1667, 1593 and 1770;
- tabled an extension until Sept. 24 for the Canyon Springs Ranch Subdivision in Precinct 2;
- accepted from Election Administrator Lannie Noble the canvassed vote results from the July 31 runoff elections;
- approved a replat of Indian Springs Ranch, Phase 1, Lots 20 R and 20 R1, in Precinct 4; and
- approved a final plat for Sherrill Addition in Precinct 3.