Commissioners approve loan for road equipment

By Alberta Stojkovic - The Sentinel

MOUNT GILEAD — Morrow County Commissioners approved a loan of $842,647.82 for the purchase of needed equipment by the County Engineer for road maintenance and repair.

Morrow County Treasurer Dennis Leader said the amount for the loan will come from treasury funds the county holds in investments.

Commissioner Tom Whiston said, “The engineer will be able to purchase slightly used trucks and equipment at reduced price and at a lower interest rate than he would get in the market, and also the yield (on interest) will be better for the treasurer. This is the wise use of the county’s monies.”

Of the county’s treasury funds of about $18 million, Leader said that $11 million are held in investments for use in emergencies. He said there are several reasons this money has been accumulated.

Leader gave credit to county commissioners, officials and departments for the conservative use of funds in their budget. He added that there has been a higher return on investments for the past several years.

The money has been saved “over many decades. You could call it a ‘rainy day fund,’” Leader said.

Using county funds for this purpose is called a win for both the Engineer’s road projects and for the county treasury. Loaning the money from the county treasury means that there will be a much better rate of interest than borrowing from any bank.

It is also a win for the county overall since they will be getting better interest rates from loaning to the engineer than from investments at the bank or other financial institution. There are also no fees involved for either the county or engineer in this transaction, which there would be when using a bank.

With the additional levy money going into roads over the next few years, commissioners agreed with the engineer that it’s important to have trucks and equipment that is running in good shape. They also determined that there are sufficient funds from the Motor Vehicle and Gas Fund to repay the loan in a five year period.

Leader said that it has already proven to be a good investment for the county since the engineer borrowed $720,000 in 2014 and made every payment on time or early. That five-year loan was paid to $220,000 and the remaining amount was combined with the new loan to make the total loan of $842,647.82 to be paid over five years.

In approving the loan, all three commissioners agreed that it goes toward the ultimate goal of improving Morrow County roads.

By Alberta Stojkovic

The Sentinel