EATON — Preble County Commissioners are planning to utilize a bank note to fund Phase II of the Expo Expansion project. As money is raised for the project, funds will be applied to pay off the note early.
During the commission meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 28, Fairgrounds Manager Jim Shute and Pork Festival Coordinators Mike and Becky Henning attended to brainstorm ways to fund Phase II of the project. It was decided a note or a bond would be the best way to get the project completed by the 2019 Preble County Fair, while still allowing for the community to fund the project.
Shute has currently raised $100,000 for Phase II, but the project has an estimated expense of $900,000.
“We’re almost done and closed out with the first phase. The next phase is the interior. We have the plans done and approved. That is to finish the entire inside. It is pretty similar [to the plans posted inside the Expo building], with a few minor changes for codes and things like that,” Commission President Chris Day said.
“Where we’re at right now is, the estimate for the second phase is $900,000 rounded up. It would be great if it came in under that. Where we’re at now is ‘where do we go from here?’ We wanted to get all the players involved in here. We’re at $900,000 to finish it and that is finishing everything.”
“We want this done ASAP. If we wait till we have the money, it is going to be another three or five years. Do we go ahead and get a note for it and apply the money that is generated for it to the loan? If you can’t make the payments, if you fall a little short, that is when we step up and make up the difference,” Commissioner Rodney Creech said.
Becky Henning asked, if they do not generate enough money for the project to pay the yearly note payments, who is responsible for covering it? Commissioner Denise Robertson answered, the county — since it would be taking out the loan.
“I hope this thing makes its own payment, but we might have to come up with $5,000. We’ve lost things because we haven’t had this. People have said they would come here if we had bathrooms. We’ve already committed, we have to do this and we need to do this. It is in the county’s best interest to do this,” Creech said.
The board discussed different payments, looking at a 20-year loan, but Commission Clerk Kim Keller warned them against choosing a loan term of that length. At the end of the 20 years, the building will need maintenance and upkeep. She recommended looking at a 10-year loan.
Commissioner Creech said he was interested in a 20-year loan, so the payments are smaller, with the intention of paying it off early. He also noted, they are planning to put money back for maintenance on the building.
Becky Henning asked what the “timeline” is and when they would apply for the note or bond.
“Until we get a few things determined, we will not have a ‘pull the trigger’ date,” Day said. “We need to have most of this answered by the end of the year. We need to have this stuff hammered out sooner, rather than later.”
Creech added, he believes the space will be rented often and will both be a space residents of the county will use, and will also bring people to the county.
Shute discussed renting the building out for $1,250, but Creech recommended $2,000 to $3,000. Robertson recommended checking into the marketing and seeing what people would be willing to spend.
Day asked the Hennings if there is anything the Pork Festival needs and they responded “recognition.” Becky Henning added, the festival donated money to the Office Building project and were not recognized and the festival board wants to make sure they are recognized for their contributions to the new building.
The group scheduled another meeting for Wednesday, Dec. 5, at 1 p.m. in commission chambers at the Preble County Courthouse.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH