County to save on MCF bond, forced to pay taxes on bank property

By: 
Dave Lein, Editor

BELLAIRE – There was some good news for the Antrim County Board of Commissioners, relayed during its first meeting of the month last Thursday, Sept. 5, and some bad news.

The good news first.

County administrator Pete Garwood informed the board that he and county finance director Deb Haydell had been notified that due to several factors – including lower interest rates and the county’s current AA+ bond rating (from Standard and Poor’s) – the county could end up refunding the remainder of the original bonds for Meadow Brook Medical Care Facility over the remaining life of the repayment schedule, which could save the county about $400,000.

“When the one-mill was approved by voters for the new addition and improvements to the (county-owned) care facility, it was to pay for both the construction and operations of the facility,” Garwood told the board in his recommendation to move forward. “In the final six years of the bond payment schedule, the amount of the payment increases substantially.

“Approving the refunding will help to reduce the amount needed to pay the bond obligations and allow the MCF (medical care facility) to put the funds into operating the facility. By refunding the bonds we can reduce the total amount that will have to be paid between now and 2030 by what looks like almost a half-million dollars.”

By a unanimous 8-0 vote (District 8 Commissioner Jason Helwig was absent) the board approved authorizing Garwood and Haydell to move forward with securing the services of financial advisers and bond council representatives at an estimated cost of $30,000.

Now, the bad news.

The county recently received tax bills totaling more than $30,000 in taxes due for the Huntington Bank building and property that it purchased over two years ago.

“After the 2017 closing on the purchase of the former bank building, taxes the county was liable for were paid,” Garwood said. “The property was taken off the tax rolls. However, the 2019 July Board of Review put the building back on the rolls (2018 and 2019 values) since a portion of this space is leased by a local business.”

According to Garwood, the county did not receive 2018 property tax bills, but as a result of the recent board of review decision, a 2018 Adjusted Tax Notice totaling $16,805.54 (due Sept. 7) was sent to the county. In addition, 2019 tax bills (Village of Bellaire and Kearney Township summer) totaling $13,675.33 (due Sept. 16) were sent to the county.

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