The Guilford County Animal Shelter is right on track – the only question now is where to get $15 million to pay for it.
Guilford County Commissioners have been struggling with that very question for months – but no one in the county’s government seems concerned yet that the project will be held up for a lack of money. One other project – a $17-million renovation project for the old Guilford County jail in downtown Greensboro – did go up in flames, but commissioners say the new Animal Shelter won’t see that same fate.
The board has several methods at its disposal to fund the shelter that county animal advocates have been asking for for years.
Guilford County Animal Services Director Jorge Ortega said this week that things have been moving smoothly on the design side.
“We’ve had intermittent meetings with the architect,” he said. “Our next meeting is scheduled for next week; the architect has been busy with the structural engineers. It’s still 30 or 40 percent designed right now.”
He said the project is moving forward.
But Ortega doesn’t have to find the money; the commissioners do.
Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Alan Branson said one possibility is using two-thirds bonds in the Spring of 2019. That’s a type of bond that doesn’t require voter approval and that allows local governments in North Carolina to borrow up to two-thirds of the amount of debt they paid off in the previous fiscal year.
Branson also said the commissioners may take some of the money out of the county’s $83-million savings account for the project. State finance oversight officials encourage local governments to keep at least 8 percent of their budgets in reserve to maintain liquidity and for emergencies. Guilford County currently has over 14 percent of its budget in savings.
Commissioner Jeff Phillips said the question of paying for the shelter was going to be answered in the coming months when the board figures out how to pay for several other major projects as well. Phillips said the county has until the end of this budget year to sell two-thirds bonds if it chooses that method of financing, so there’s time to decide the question.
The county is eligible to raise up to $57 million through two-thirds bonds before June 30, 2019.