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County asked to give up first-creditor rights on fairgrounds

 

A member of the county fair board is asking that the county give up its first lien rights on the fairgrounds as part of an additional financing package for the proposed new fair barn and arena.

At its Thursday meeting commissioners referred to the prosecutor a letter from Ironton attorney Randall Lambert to give Liberty Federal Savings Bank first lien on the fairgrounds. Lambert is chairman of the barn committee. The fair board has established a line of credit for $100,000 to be used for buying pens for animals and fencing around the barn to be built this spring.

The project to build the barn and arena is expected to cost $400,000 and will be financed from $400,000 in bonds issued by the county. Those bonds will be paid off through pledges made to the fair board. Right now the county is first creditor on the fair grounds, currently appraised at more than $1 million.

“The Agricultural Society in conjunction with the 4-H is going to sell the naming rights to individual pens and the pen will have a name plate listing the donor,” Lambert’s letter states. “This money will be used to pay the debt on the pens. We have a pledge of $29,000, which is solely to pay for the fence. … The bank requires a first lien upon the agricultural society’s real estate. Thus, we ask the county commissioners to agree to subordinate their $400,000 lien, to give the bank the first lien.”

The commissioners have requested a prosecutor’s opinion on Lambert’s request.

Also at the meeting the county approved taking advantage of its own program to borrow $185,000 through its Neighborhood Investment Program.

The NIP was started recently by County Treasurer Stephen Burcham where the county buys the bonds of a governmental agency at a lower interest rate than the agency could receive from a bank. But the rate is higher than what banks are currently giving the county on its investments.

This time the NIP will buy the bonds issued by the county for a five-year period at an interest rate of 2 percent. That money will go to fund a new computer system at the board of elections for $95,000; HVAC and roofing project at Lawrence County Municipal Court for $40,000 and jail maintenance for $50,000.

Commissioners also approved a right of way permit for John Ater to

build a fence on county right of way at County Road 2 and County Road 115 over Ater’s objections. The fence must be at least 10 feet from the edge of the road and Ater said he cannot accommodate that requirement.

Ater said being asked to meet that requirement was politically motivated.

However after the meeting County Engineer Doug Cade said the condition is for safety.

“So people can safely pull off the edge of the road and it gives us enough room to trim the right of way,” Cade said. “It also does not create an obstruction that creates a road hazard for people driving along the road.”

In other action the commission:

• Declared May Older Americans Month;

• Accepted the weekly dog warden’s report where 11 dogs were destroyed; seven were sold and three were redeemed by their owners. There were 61 dogs in custody this week.