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Sumter County Board of Commissioners approves resolution providing issuance and sale of $11,500,000 tax bond

AMERICUS – At its monthly regular meeting held on Tuesday, May 19, the Sumter County Board of Commissioners (BOC) voted unanimously to approve a resolution providing the issuance and sale of an $11,500,000 Sumter County, Georgia General Obligation Sales Tax Bond. Once again, due to the COVIDF-19 pandemic, the meeting was held virtually by way of a Zoom conference call.

The resolution also includes the naming of a bond register and paying agent for the bond, the adoption of a form to which the bond shall adhere, the preparation of a tax digest and the levy of a tax sufficient to pay the principal of and interest on the bond, the execution and delivery of said bond, a bond placement agreement, a custodial agreement, a sales tax escrow agreement and a paying agency agreement related to the bond and for other related purposes.

County Attorney Kimberly Reid told the BOC that by approving this resolution, the Board would be approving and authorizing the execution of all of the closing documents for the bond. Reid went on to say that the closing will not be until June 4, but the BOC could go ahead and put its stamp of approval on the bond.

County Financial Director Janice Jarvis told the BOC that requests for proposals (RFPs) had gone out to 14 banks and that her department has received five proposals back. “The three best proposals were from Zions Bank, Farmers Bank and Synovus,” said Jarvis. “Zions Bank looked to be our best option. They had the best bid that came in so we’re looking to go with them. The interest is at 1.80 and it only accrues on the amount that we actually draw down.” Jarvis went on to say that the deadline to draw down the funds is July 1, 2024. “If we do not draw down the entire amount by then, then they will be placed in our account,” said Jarvis. “Synovus will remain the custodian of our account like they are right now. Nothing will change on that end so we’re glad about that. They’re very easy to work with.”

Board Chairman Clay Jones asked Attorney Reid what the BOC needed to do. Reid replied that a motion to approve the resolution is needed. Commissioner Mark Waddell made a motion for approval and Commissioner Scott Roberson seconded the motion. The BOC took a vote and the motion for approval passed unanimously.

The BOC also continued its discussion with Damon Martin of Enterprise Fleet Management. According to www.efleets.com, Enterprise Fleet Management is a division of Enterprise Holdings and assists government agencies around the country in moving them from an owned, buy-and-hold fleet management approach to a more flexible program with a shortened cycle. In other words, the company provides assistance in helping government agencies obtain newer and more efficient vehicles.

At the BOC’s May Work Session on Tuesday, May 12, Martin explained to the BOC how it might be able to help the county acquire newer and more efficient vehicles through a lease program. Martin told the BOC that Enterprise Fleet Management works with 30 government agencies across Georgia and works with over 1,900 government agencies across the country. Martin stated that most government entities cannot determine the right time to get out of their vehicles and, therefore, aren’t able to maximize the resale value that they have in these vehicles. “You guys have around 55 percent of the current medium and light-duty fleet is over 10 years old,” Martin told the BOC. “Twenty-seven percent of those vehicles are over 15 years old. Fifty-two percent of those vehicles have no electronic stability control or side air bags and 84 percent don’t have the rearview camera.”

At the Work Session, Martin explained to the BOC in detail how Enterprise Fleet Management could assist Sumter County in providing newer, up-to-date vehicles through a lease agreement with the county. At the BOC’s regular meeting this past Tuesday, County Clerk Rayetta Volley said that members of the BOC had asked Enterprise Fleet Management to email several items to them, one of them being the maintenance costs. “We’ve spent over $140,000 last year on maintenance costs,” said Volley. Martin was also present at the BOC’s virtual meeting this past Tuesday for further discussion on the matter and to answer any questions that the members of the Board had. Commissioner Waddell stated that he had not had enough time to look over the details and needed more time to look at them again. Board Chairman Jones pretty much said the same thing and asked Martin to allow the BOC to review the issue a little bit more. “It all looks really good,” Jones told Martin. Jones asked Martin if Enterprise Fleet Management or the county is responsible for paying for the maintenance of the vehicles. Martin replied that the company takes care of all the maintenance of the county’s vehicles that are not emergency response vehicles. “There’s a maintenance program where you pay a set budget amount per month for each unit, which covers all preventative and non-preventative maintenance,” said Martin. “Now the emergency response vehicles, we pay the maintenance costs on your behalf and then we send the county one consolidated bill.” Col. Eric Bryant of the Sumter County Sherriff’s Office told Jones that the BOC should make a decision as soon as possible so that excessive funds aren’t spent in getting the units repaired. No vote was taken on the issue and there were no motions for approval, but it is expected that the BOC will make a decision on the matter in the near future.