PPEA hearing held

Published 9:43 am Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Charlotte County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing Tuesday at their regular December meeting to hear public comment regarding an amendment and/or appropriation to the FY 2018-19 Charlotte County budget, relating to $3.2 million Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act (PPEA) for school capital projects at Phenix and Bacon District Elementary Schools.

The Supervisors sought comment from the public regarding financing the projects or paying for the projects from the General Fund Reserves.

Following public comment, the public hearing was recessed to be continued in January.

During the hearing, Charlotte Court House resident and newly elected Charlotte Court House Town Council Member Terry Ramsey offered comment regarding the matter.

“Why borrow the $3.2 million when the County can use its own idle cash at little or no interest cost? asked Ramsey. “Actually, only $2.7 million may be needed as Davenport reports over $500,000 ($559,383) is left over from (the) Eureka (Elementary) project.”

At Bacon-District and Phenix Elementary, previously in June, PPEA proposal plans included a fixed price identified at $3.2 million to include the addition of a 6,000 square foot multipurpose facility at both Bacon District and Phenix Schools and the addition of eight classrooms at Phenix, which would replace mobile classroom units.

Superintendent of Charlotte County Schools Dr. Nancy Leonard said previously the focus was on security and accessibility, at which the entire team met at the two schools to do a walk through.

“The County only earned $55,000 ($54,579) interest on General Fund cash during the entire FY 2018. Only $31,000 interest income is budgeted for FY 2019. By contrast, simple annual interest cost on $3.2 million at 3.8 percent is $121, 600. Borrowing costs the County fees for underwriting costs. There are no fees for the County (to) use its own surplus cash,” said Ramsey.

A Nov. 20 memo from County Administrator Daniel Witt said the PPEA Project for the two elementary schools was approved by the Board of Supervisors.

He said the issuance cost estimated is $75,000 and both figures, including the $3.2 million PPEA, have been appropriated by the Board to Capital Projects Fund 70, “with the revenue source of contemplated borrowings.”

According to Witt, the Supervisors approved a reimbursement resolution if funds were to be borrowed for the project.

“ …However, the resolution did not include allocating any funds from the General Reserve Fund 10. The first payment was approved to be paid at the November Board meeting but now a decision needs to be made regarding the funding source …” he said.

Witt said if it is a desire to borrow the funds, a request should be made to Davenport and Company to explore borrowing options.

He previously said, according to the County’s auditor, Fund 70 would show a negative balance without an appropriation allowing for a fund transfer from General Fund 10.