Board discusses borrowing $5.5M

COUNTY — Members of the Pickens County School Board spent their meeting Monday night discussing the possibility of borrowing up to $5.5 million dollars to cover maintenance costs.

Brian Nurick, who has been advising the board on financial matters for the past 13 years, presented his advice on the board obtaining the funds through debt service.

Nurick talked about mill rate stabilization, which would produce a millage rate that would cover the district’s needs every year.

Nurick said that when tax rates go down, nobody notices, but when they go up to return to the former rate, everybody is upset. Nurick advised the district to try to avoid a fluctuating millage rate to keep the public happy.

“Having that millage rate be more constant is something that’s more desirable from a political perspective and more from a general cash management stature,” Nurick said.

Nurick said if the district borrows to cover maintenance cost, it would be looking at a rise in millage rate from 53 to 69.

The board could refinance the current debt bond and end up with a millage rate of 58, officials said.

So if the board chooses to move ahead and finance the maintenance cost, it would be looking at a millage rate of no more than 69, but no less than 58.

It’s basically a matter of needs and taxation, Nurick said.

“You have to decide if the need is in balance with the taxation,” Nurick said.

Board chair Alex Saitta said that proceeds from city TIF bonds will soon kick in to help the school district avoid any additional taxes.

“I don’t think the people of this county deserve this,” Saitta said. “People would appreciate it if we do our best to work with what we’ve got.”

Board member Judy Edwards said the board needs to make plans so it does not face this problem every year.