The Guilford County Board of Commissioners didn’t meet in open session for very long on Thursday, April 5 – but, when they did, they made a major move in that short time: The board approved raising $40 million for county projects and for enhanced school security through the sale of two-thirds bonds.
That’s a special type of financing in which the county borrows money without any sort of voter approval needed. In any fiscal year following a year in which general obligation bond debt has been paid down, a local government in North Carolina has the ability to raise money by selling bonds totaling up to two-thirds of the amount paid back in the previous fiscal year.
In the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30, 2019, Guilford County had a right to borrow nearly $60 million using this method and, on Thursday, the board voted unanimously in favor of using much of that credit line.
The commissioners did so on two separate votes – one to raise $30 million for county projects and another to raise $10 million to go toward school security.
Guilford County has several expensive capital projects on the drawing board right now including a new headquarters for the Sherriff’s Department, a metal health facility, a vehicle maintenance facility for Emergency Services and a new Animal Shelter. The $30 million won’t come anywhere near addressing the county’s capital needs for the projects that it has planned, but every $30 million does help.
Last fall, Guilford County Commissioner Justin Conrad made a motion for the county to endorse raising up to $10 million as a way to get money to the schools quickly for school security needs and the vote by the board on Thursday night was a culmination of that promise. The money will be used for things like better door locks, more secure windows, walls and fencing that limit access points at schools, as well as to fund other move meant to enhance security.
Before the board voted on Thursday, it held a public hearing on each item as required by law. However, in both cases, no one from the public spoke either for, or in opposition to, the move.