Rockdale BOC approves resolution for $140 million bond referendum

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The Rockdale Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution during a special called meeting for a $140 million general obligation bond referendum. The bond will fund the construction of a new courthouse, renovated administrative offices, a 675-space parking garage and a 500-seat amphitheater in downtown Conyers. Their action paved the way for voters to decide on the bond referendum on May 22.

Garvin Haynes was the first of five speakers during public comments following the board’s 3-0 decision to place the bond referendum on the ballot. Haynes acknowledged the county needs a new courthouse to replace the aging building that exists, an issue he said that officials have grappled with for many years. He said, however, residents should have input into the project and the county should take bids on the project.

“The board could have arbitrarily done this on their own. I thank you for not doing this, but for putting this up for the people to have an opportunity to have an opinion on it come May,” Haynes said.

Scottie Spence questioned the county’s recent $4 million purchase of Costley Mill Park as it called for the bond referendum, demanding: “If you knew good and well we needed this stuff, why did we buy a park?”

Josie Dean vowed that voters would remember the officials at the polls.

“Y’all making and signing contracts and you don’t talk to us about any of this stuff. …If we have to recall ya’ll to get up out of here, we’ll do it,” Dean said.

County officials estimate a 4-mill increase in property taxes if the bond passes. The increase would amount to about  $13 per month more in property taxes on a home valued at $100,000.

The proposed project includes:

New 222,000-square-foot courthouse— $72.145 million

Renovated 53,000-square-foot administration center— $10.851 million

675-space parking garage— $12.1 million

500-seat outdoor amphitheater — $1 million

Site work/professional fees — $24.4 million

Land acquisition, infrastructure — $7 million

Contingency — $11.95 million

On Common Ground News

One comment

  • Nick Suma

    February 8, 2019 at 8:35 pm

    1 – It is very misleading to use the phrase “the New Courthouse and renovated Administrative Offices” complex will cost the taxpayers $140 Million to be borrowed for 30 years at 8.00 Interest Rate.
    The facts are that borrowing $140 Million for 30 years of payments at 8.0% will cost the following:
    $140 Million pay back of the borrowed principal, plus
    $196 Million to pay for the interest of 8.0% accumulated over 30 years.
    So, the correct phrase must be: Taking out a bond for $140 Million at the cost of $196 Million of Interest. Using the wrong wording is a clear act of unprofessional deception. Lying to the taxpayers is against the Public Interest! During this period I asked BOC repeatedly to tell people what the interest costs will be, given in Dollar amounts for each payment of the Bond. They refused to answer to this question.
    2 – Rockdale County issued a pamphlet with pictures of how the Courthouse will look. On the page 2 it provided a table showing that for a home of $100,000 Fair Market Value (FMV) its homeowner tax contribution to the payment of the $140 Million borrowed will be “4 Millage that will mean $160 increase in homeowner’s tax.” This was an other lie because they just did not give how many Mills will require to pay for the $196 Millions Interest! Publishing the wrong numbers it is also a fraud!
    Let us calculate this cost. Firstly, if 4 Mills means $160 tax increase, in addition to the current homeowners tax, by dividing $160 by 4 Mills, will give us that 1 Mill costs $40.0 ! The current Mill paid Rockdale taxpayer is $20.19
    Taking out $140 Million, out of $196 Million Interest, will generate another 4 Mills, for a total of 8 Mills. However, we will have 56 Million (196-140=56) Millions Interest leftover that will generate another 1.6 Mills. Thus, the total number of Mills to pay becomes 4 + 4 + 1.6 = 9.6 Mills for his $100,000 Fair Market Value home, Then, 9.6 Mills x $40/Mill = $384 tax, and not $160 That is, $384 in addition to whatever homeowner is paying currently!
    Have we elected the three members of Rockdale Board of Commissioners telling them to feel free to lie to us?


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