Over a year ago, a Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued by the State Properties Commission (SPC) soliciting bids for a facility to be built in Madison County, Georgia for the Department of Family and Children Services (DFACS).

The state of Georgia decided to build, or pay for, a new facility in Madison County. They will facilitate this by appropriating money (guaranteeing payment) for this facility every year for the duration of, in this case, 20 years. For those of you with a home mortgage, Madison County will have a similar arrangement on a 20-year mortgage for this new facility. Madison County will own the property from day one but will be responsible for the payment each year for 20 years. The agreement, a 20-year lease between the SPC and Madison County is renewable every year. The SPC will make payment to Madison County and Madison County in turn will make payment to the “mortgage holder.” Should the state fail or decide not to appropriate money for this lease, Madison County can walk away from the agreement without penalty. I repeat, the county can walk away. It should be noted the state has never failed to appropriate for a DFACS facility…ever. At the end of the 20-year lease, Madison County will own the property free and clear and can then renegotiate a lease arrangement with the SPC with all revenue coming to Madison County.

It is important to note that according to Georgia Code, section 36-60-13, Multiyear lease, purchase, or lease-purchase contracts, paragraph (d): “No contract developed and executed pursuant to this Code section shall be deemed to create a debt of the county or municipality for the payment of any sum beyond the calendar or fiscal year of execution or, in the event of a renewal, beyond the calendar or fiscal year of such renewal.”

Regarding a recent letter in The Madison County Journal, I’d like to reassure our residents that this arrangement will in no way affect individual property owners’ taxes. And there is no truth in Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds being used to pay for this facility. SPLOST was voted on and approved by the voters in Madison County to be used for the purpose of specific projects identified in the referendum. A DFACS facility was not one of those, therefore it will not be used to fund it. What was in the referendum was language permitting the county to finance identified SPLOST projects through a bank loan, bond issue, or other means in an attempt to hedge against inflation and basically permit the completion of various projects up front as opposed to waiting for SPLOST funds to be collected monthly. A nearby county just secured a financial arrangement through a bank loan for $11 million at an interest rate less than one percent. We are trying to secure the same deal for Madison County.

For anyone with questions, please feel free to contact me.

John Scarborough

Chairman of the Madison County Board of Commissioners

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