06/12/14 — County OKs Eastern Region loan

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County OKs Eastern Region loan

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 12, 2014 1:46 PM

Wayne County commissioners took just under 10 minutes to approve yet another loan application through North Carolina's Eastern Region.

The $330,076.92 loan is the third the county has made through the Eastern Region since March when it borrowed the county's $576,923 share of the trust fund.

The first loan, which was closed in April, was earmarked for use by the county's smaller municipalities.

The second loan, in the amount of $2,162,192.22, was closed on Tuesday, County Manager George Wood said. That money, and the loan approved Wednesday, have not yet been allocated.

All told the loans total $3,069,192.10.

The state created the trust fund when the Eastern Region was first formed, with the stipulation that the money could only be used by member counties for economic development projects.

The additional loan funding was made available by counties in the region that decided not to borrow their shares of the trust fund.

"This is the last of the funds available, and Wayne County has gotten its share," said Commissioner Ray Mayo, who is also a member of the Eastern Region board.

The first $576,923 requires a one-time 1 percent loan origination fee and no interest for 59 months. The towns will pay the 1 percent loan origination fee.

The crossover loans will each require a one-time, 2 percent loan origination fee and an annual interest rate of a quarter of 1 percent.

Wednesday's special session was called because of the need for a quick turnaround of closing out the loan as near to June 10 as possible since the Eastern Region will cease to exist by the end of the month. It is being replaced by the privatized Eastern Regional Alliance.

The Eastern Region was scheduled to hold its final meeting this morning.

Before applying for the initial loan, commissioners asked the municipalities to submit economic development projects to be considered for funding.

Mount Olive will get $100,000 for its airport project, Pikeville $75,000 to refurbish a tank used to store treated wastewater, Fremont $255,244 to pay off long-term debt, and Eureka $146,678 for sewer improvements.

The loans have to be repaid within 59 months. There is no interest.

Goldsboro also applied, but withdrew, saying that the smaller towns had a greater need.

The commission's Facilities Committee will meet following next Tuesday's board session.

"I wanted to have that committee meeting because we need to have a discussion on some of these major projects because that may affect how we recommend how you spend some of this money," Wood said. "You may recall we have a request from Goldsboro for I think $637,000 on part of this money. They are going to use it for widening on Berkeley Boulevard."

Commissioners have said they might use some of the money for repairs at the county's Genoa sewer plant.