County moves forward with bond purchase


By LPR Staff

In their final act of business for the 2010 calendar year, the Caldwell County Commissioners’ Court gave the green light to the purchase of $1.2 million in certificates of obligation.

The funds, which will be repaid over the course of 20 years, are slated for use in maintenance and renovation to the Caldwell County Courthouse and

the Caldwell County Judicial Center. Among the projects planned, the county intends to clean and seal the limestone on the Caldwell County Courthouse, and repaint many of the windows.

These repairs, according to the Commissioners, are necessary maintenance to preserve the work and efforts expended when the Courthouse was restored in the 1990s.

The Judicial Center projects, while planned, are not yet certain. A number of factors are being weighed with regard to the current conditions and needs of the building. Moving forward, Commissioners hope to ascertain the best course of action for correcting the current problems to mitigate any further damage to the building.

At a later time, the Commissioners may have to make decisions as to the future of the Judicial Center.

The authorization of the certificates of obligation came at such a late date, in large part because of Federal regulations limiting the amounts a government entity can borrow in any given calendar year.

The concern among the Commissioners and the county’s financial advice team is that a limit of $10 million might be imposed for the 2011 calendar year. In that event, they felt it was safer to acquire the certificate of obligation before January, so if an emergency arose, the funds would still be available next year.

While seven organizations bid on the certificates of obligation, the Commissioners opted to approve the certificates issued by SAMCO Capital Markets, a San Antonio-based conglomerate of banks. The rate offered by SAMCO was well below the current market rate, which hovers near 4.5 percent interest. Rather, SAMCO offered a rate of 3.919.

According to Jennifer Douglas, of Specialized Public Finance, the county was able to receive such a competitive rate for a number of reasons, including the court’s commitment to fiscal conservativeness and the recent upgrade to an “AA-” bond rating.

In brief news:
The Court bid a fond farewell to Precinct 2 Commissioner Charles Bullock, Interim County Judge Ronnie Duesterheft, and County Clerk Nina Sells, for each of whom Monday’s meeting marked the last time they would be involved in an official capacity in the Court’s meetings.

Sells went to work for the County Clerk’s Office nearly 30 years ago, and was elected County Clerk in 1986. She was elected for six terms as Caldwell County Clerk. She will be replaced by Carol Holcomb, who will be sworn in as Caldwell County Clerk in January.

Bullock, too, has long been a fixture in the Caldwell County Courthouse, having started his first term in office in 1991. Bullock’s seat will be filled by newly-elected Commissioner Fred Buchholtz.

The County paid bills in the amount of $179,291.71, which includes $23,201.56 for indigent legal defense and $13,448.16 in indigent health care expenses.

The Caldwell County Commissioners Court has adjourned for the holidays, and will reconvene on the second Monday of January. Prior to that, the County will host a swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 3, 2011, where oaths of office will be administered to the new and returning elected officials.


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