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Town to borrow $650,000

The Town of Jonesborough will pay an estimated $64,000 annually for the next 12 years to complete two ongoing projects.
The Board of Mayor and Alderman approved a $650,000 capital outlay note to pay for $500,000 in renovations at the former Booker T. Washington School and $150,000 in downtown streetscape improvements.
“It’s like this: We’re doing a lot of work in town at this point. We’re getting a great deal on the work,” Mayor Kelly Wolfe said, citing the use of inmate labor at the Booker T. Washington School and the use of town staff for the sidewalk repair project downtown. “But even so, we’re going to have to pay.”
According to Town Administrator Bob Browning, money was being pulled from the General Fund to do some of the work until staff could better estimate total costs of the projects so they could know how much to borrow.
The loan includes approximately $150,000 to reimburse the town for the money already used from the General Fund to start work on both projects.
The interest rate on the 12-year loan will be, at a maximum, 2.71 percent.
“There couldn’t be a better time to do this and there couldn’t be a better way to do this. We can complete both projects with the money we are proposing and we’ll be reimbursing the General Fund,” Wolfe said. ”We’re talking 12 years. In 12 years, you own the Booker T. School outright and it’s remodeled. In 12 years, you have, free and clear, new paving, sidewalks and landscaping downtown.”
Saying he believed the projects would help downtown, Vice Mayor Terry Countermine made a motion to authorize the $650,000 capital outlay note. The motion was seconded by Alderman Mary Gearhart.
While he voted in favor of the loan, Alderman Chuck Vest emphasized the need to appropriately designate the portion of the loan that will reimburse the General Fund.
“If we are taking this $150,000 and putting it back to the General fund,” Vest said, “let’s make sure we’re not spending it.”
Alderman Jerome Fitzgerald voted against the motion.