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Facilities authority will form in 2011
Could set funding for public buildings
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Forsyth County News

Other action

Also during Tuesday's work session, Forsyth County commissioners:

• Postponed a vote on proposals to build two recreation centers. Construction of the Buice and South facilities is estimated to cost about $10 million. Funding could come from impact fees, which are charged to developers, and the county's 1-cent sales tax revenue.

• Approved a bid for street lighting on Peachtree Parkway from Ga. 400 to Majors Road for about $168,000. Funding for the project will come from a $100,000 state grant and 1-cent sales tax money.

• Accepted a grant from the Sawnee Mountain Foundation for about $40,000 to fund two seasonal positions, purchase equipment and signs and train staff at the Sawnee Mountain Preserve.

• Delayed to Jan. 6 a settlement agreement with Advanced Disposal. The county is expecting a "significant payment" from the agreement, County Attorney Ken Jarrard said, but wants to work more on the wording of the deal.

• Added a condition to the acquisition of green space on Echols Road to include money in an escrow account for remediation expenses. During an environmental survey of the property, a large load of shingles was found that will need to be removed. Closing is still expected today.

• Reformatted the social services committee to include two commissioners, the finance director or designee, a resident stakeholder and member of the social services community.

Note: All votes were 5-0, unless otherwise noted.

-- Alyssa LaRenzie

More than two years after it received state approval, Forsyth County plans to begin assembling a public facilities authority.

The authority's first meeting, expected in early 2011, is the next step toward using its power in purchases or other contracts involving county buildings.

"They are a vehicle for the funding and construction of public facilities," County Attorney Ken Jarrard said Tuesday, when county commissioners voted 5-0 to move ahead with the concept.

The state legislature and Gov. Sonny Perdue approved the authority's creation in 2008.

The authority will be made up of the commissioners and county manager. Once established, it can enter leases, contracts or other agreements, as well as issue bonds for county building purposes.

The formation is just a "housekeeping measure," Jarrard said, so the background work can be completed and the authority ready in case it's needed.

Tuesday, Jarrard told commissioners they may want to assemble the authority if they foresee any possible need for it in 2011.

"There's no preconceived notion that this is being put together for 'X,'" he said after the meeting. "But in these times of fiscal austerity, it certainly gives us another tool if need be."

If the authority were to issue a bond, Jarrard said, it would have to identify a revenue source. Some examples include 1-cent sales tax money or impact fees from developers.

A public facilities authority bond was identified as one possible funding source for building a county animal shelter, which was approved Dec. 16.

In the case of the shelter, officials noted that higher animal control fees could be used to repay the bond.

The resolution prohibits the authority from issuing bonds for a jail, courthouse or any building with construction costs of more than $20 million without voter approval or court order.