Monday, Mar. 27, 2023–8:54 p.m.
-David Crowder, WRGA News-
More discussions took place during Monday’s Rome City Commission caucus regarding the backing of bonds for the new Rome Middle School project, but no action was taken.
Commissioner Craig McDaniel made a motion during a finance committee meeting to have more discussions just to make sure all the commissioners were on the same page.
The plan is for $103 million of the nearly $120 price to be funded with bonds.
But, those are just the draft numbers, and the price tag could be a little higher or a little lower. The commission will not know until there is a guaranteed maximum price set, prior to a final vote on the bond package in July.
“You’ll be asked to approve a final intergovernmental contract,” said Bill Camp with Raymond James, who is advising the city on the bonds. “You’ll know the total cost, the amount of the bond proceeds, and the future payments on those bonds. That’s when you will be asked to approve the final transaction.”
The bonds would be paid back over the next 20 years with proceeds from three special purpose, location option sales tax for education packages.
It a future ELOST package does not pass, it could mean a millage rate increase for City of Rome property owners.
The commission did hear from Rome resident Billy Cooper, who expressed his concerns.
“It’s my conjecture that if this truly surfaced to the point that it came before the property owners, who ultimately could be responsible for this—that’s not a negative—it’s just a could be responsible, then I honestly believe in my heart that they would send you back to the drawing board,” he said. “They would not want to take that risk down the road.”
Commissioner Bill Collins said it’s good to have discussion, but the commission is setting a dangerous precedent by revisiting issues that have already been voted on.
Mayor Sundai Stevenson added that the school is needed to handle future growth and that everyone on the commission should do their part to campaign for future ELOSTs to make sure they are passed.