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Gates explores funding options

GATESVILLE – The Gates County Board of Commissioners is still working to find a way to fund the $8.6 million capital construction plan for the county schools.

During Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting, the board explored various funding combinations to fund the project.

The options include an overall six-cent tax increase, all dedicated for the Gates County School System. One-half of that tax hike went into effect for the current budget year. The other three cents will come into play during the for the 2007-2008 budget year.

Other options include proceeds from the North Carolina Education Lottery and bank loans.

The possibility of the county borrowing the money will be discussed when County Manager Tim Russell, Finance Officer Melinda Hoggard and members the Board of Education travel to Raleigh next week to meet with the Local Government Commission (LGC).

The LGC is a group within the state treasurer’s office that assists all local governments in the state with fiscal management. Before a county can incur any additional indebtedness, the LGC must give approval by determining the county’s ability to service the debt.

By borrowing the money needed to move forward with the school construction plan, Gates County will approach the borrowing threshold recommended by the LGC, currently 15 percent of total general fund expenditures.

After meeting with the LGC next week, the board will have a better understanding about what combinations of funding options are feasible.