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County gets good grade for finances

March 24, 2018 GMT

With Adams County officials looking at funding options for projects such as the southeast truck route as well as possibly a new jail, members of the Board of Supervisors received feedback from their bond counsel on Tuesday.

County officials agreed on Nov. 21, 2017, to purchase 3.86 acres near the corner of J Street and Showboat Boulevard to be used as a southeast truck route.

Board members approved during their March 6 meeting proceeding with a formal jail study with Prochaska and Associates architecture firm of Omaha for $15,000 to look at the possibility of constructing a new jail in Adams County.

Phil Lorenzen with Omaha management services company D.A. Davidson, the county’s bond counsel, reviewed the county’s financial history with the Adams County Board of Supervisors during the Supervisors’ regular meeting and made comments about the financial condition of Adams County.

“Because you are outstanding in so many ways and that is fantastic,” Lorenzen said, describing the county’s financial condition.

The county’s taxable valuation in 2017 was $3.686 billion, up from $1.1 billion in 2007.

The county’s assessed value in 2017 was $3.772 billion, up from $2.541 billion in 2012.

“So you continue to grow through inflation and economic activity,” he said.

The county has a general obligation debt of $4.7 million creating a ratio of direct bonded debt to taxable valuation of .127 percent.

“That’s extremely modest in this day and age,” Lorenzen said.

When it comes to alternative financing approaches for the southeast truck route, Lorenzen said, the county could issue a bond with a three-year term that would have an interest rate of around 2.10 percent. Bond issuance costs would be .80 to .90 percent of the total bond issue — split over the three-year life of the bond for a total anticipated interest rate of around 2.40 percent.

D.A. Davidson would go to banks and negotiate rates, first seeking to work with local banks.

“If the local banks don’t have an interest, we would assure you a market to the world and capture the lowest possible rate,” he said. “The local banks need to be taken care of, we always do that. That’s exceedingly important to us.”

Because Lorenzen’s proposal would serve a similar purpose as another action item on the Supervisors’ agenda Tuesday — a request for proposals for bank loans for the southeast truck route — the Supervisors voted 7-0 to table action on the RFP agenda item until next meeting.

In other business, the Supervisors:

— Unanimously approved awarding gravel bids with preference given to the lowest bidder between Deweese Sand and Gravel and Mid Nebraska Aggregate at each township.

— Unanimously approved a resolution adopting the 2018 Local Emergency Operations Plan.

— Unanimously approved as the Board of Equalization four motor vehicle exemption requests.

— Unanimously approved as the Board of Equalization two tax list corrections.

— Unanimously approved new pledge securities.

— Unanimously approved renewal of a contract with Delta Dental for county employee dental insurance with no change in premiums.

— Went into executive session to discuss contract negotiations but took no action.