Local Politics

Wake OKs borrowing to keep building plans going

Posted October 13, 2008 4:51 p.m. EDT
Updated October 18, 2011 9:37 a.m. EDT

— Wake County commissioners on Monday unanimously approved borrowing $300 million to maintain the schedules of construction projects that have already started.

County officials had to cancel a planned $450 million fixed-rate bond sale last month because of the nationwide credit crunch. Officials decided to restructure a variable-rate bond sale scheduled for Wednesday so they will issue a bond-anticipation note, with an interest rate of between 2 and 2.5 percent.

The purpose of the note is to allow cash flow for some school projects and to reimburse the county for expenditures already made for public libraries, Wake Technical Community College and open-space acquisitions.

"If anyone can handle this, Wake County can," Board of Commissioners Chairman Joe Bryan said in a statement. "We are one of only a few AAA bond-rated counties in the country. People should rest assured we are doing everything we can. We know times are tough, and we all have to work together."

County officials have already identified construction projects that can be delayed. County Manager David Cooke said he plans for a "countywide expenditure slowdown," adding that county staff will continue to monitor the market and provide updates to commissioners on the status of the county's financial and debt position.

Wake County School Board member Ron Margiotta said Monday evening schools will be impacted.

"We will definitely have some projects that will not move forward at the present time,” he said.

However, schools will get a huge share of the borrowed cash – about $260 million.

"The real concern is for next year's budget. It is going to be a horror house,” Margiotta said.

School board members plan to meet Tuesday to discuss where cuts may have to be made.

Officials with the city of Raleigh are looking at similar funding options.