In a special called meeting on Aug. 16, the county’s Board of Commissioners voted to borrow money to keep the government operating until taxes come in.
The board agreed to take out a tax anticipation note, a short-term governmental loan based on projected revenue from taxes of $125 million. But several commissioners said they were concerned about fees and how the underwriter was chosen.
When asked, Joel Gottlieb, the county’s finance director, could not tell commissioners how much the note would cost the county in underwriter costs and other fees. Some of those fees would be determined later, he said.
The underwriter, Raymond James & Associates, was specially selected by the administration through negotiation, Gottlieb said.
“This underwriter is familiar with the county’s operations,” Gottlieb said. “This potential bond issue, being the first after the various ratings occurred…is a critical one to set up and to recover our reputation in the market.
“It takes a group that has a great deal of experience with us and they were selected for this project by the administration,” Gottlieb said.
Commissioner Jeff Rader said he had “no particular reservations about the competency of the underwriter,” but is concerned about the process of selecting underwriters.
“We had a previous bond issue that was…placed by negotiation,” Rader said. “This was placed by negotiation. We’re going to have a sanitation bond. And then we’ll have three big bond issues for water and sewer debt.
“The debt issuances underwriting should be competitively awarded,” Rader said. “That’s not the policy of the administration and I can’t agree with that.”
The county plans to pay back the tax anticipation note by the end of the year.