Financing options presented to citizens’ committees

CNJ staff photo: Sharna Johnson Seated next to County Manager Lance Pyle, right, Financial Advisor Kevin Powers spoke to members of the Curry County courthouse and jail citizens’ committees about financing options for solutions to over crowding and security at the facilities.

Sharna Johnson

There are essentially three ways of raising money to fund courthouse and jail solutions — a property tax bond, a gross receipts tax bond and an extension of an existing bond.

That was the message given to Curry County citizens’ committee members during a Monday afternoon presentation by Kevin Powers, an Albuquerque financial advisor with RBC Capital Markets.

Tasked with presenting solutions to the commission April 19, the meeting was held to acquaint committee members with revenue and financing options for renovations or building projects designed to correct security and overcrowding in the jail and courthouse.

“The county does have options,” he said. “The good news is the county isn’t bonded up to capacity.”

Based on the county’s value of $648 million, it has a set amount it is allowed to borrow, secured by the issuance of tax bonds, Powers said.

The county has approximately $24.2 million available through general obligation bonds, Powers said, which increase property taxes and require voter approval.

In available GRT bonds — which also require voter approval — the county could generate up to $1.8 million annually.

And if voters agreed to extend an existing bond set to expire in 2014 — used to pay for the county’s events center and existing jail — for an additional 20 years, “That would be one way to generate $6 million,” he said.

The county commission also has the authority to issue some general obligation bonds without voter input, which would produce an additional $1.25 million, he said.

Gross receipts tax rates can be changed twice a year in July and January, with an ordinance in place 90 days prior, he said, while changes to property taxes need to in place by the last week in August and a bond election takes about 90 days to conduct.

In November, voters heavily defeated two bond questions —