Eutaw votes to borrow money for matching funds

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 28, 2005

EUTAW-The Eutaw City Council voted Tuesday afternoon to begin negotiations to borrow $411,000 to use as matching funds for grants. At their last meeting Eutaw Mayor Raymond Steele said the city had already been approved for several grants with matches of around $234,744, but wanted to borrow $400,000 for other projects that may come up. Steele said they wanted to be prepared for anything else that may present itself in the future. At their final meeting for the month of September the council voted to go ahead with this plan.

Steele again stressed the need to borrow money in a lump sum to reduce interest charges.

“If we do not borrow this money we will have to go back and borrow it,” Steele said. “That is what we were trying to avoid. We don’t have to want to go back to the bank every time we want to borrow money and pay more and more interest.”

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He also stressed the city was not done applying for grants. Steele said they had several other projects they would examine to see if they were eligible for funding.

“There are going to be other grants that we are going to want to borrow money for,” Steele said. “We can either use the money for these grants or put it toward the capital improvement fund.”

All of the grants the city has applied for have been approved with the exception of a grant to expand the fire department. Steele said they would have an answer on this grant very soon.

Councilmember Lewis Bostick expressed concerns over paying off a building purchase next door to city hall. The city bought the building for $40,000 and had $20,000 left to pay. Bostick said he would like to use the money to make this debt disappear.

“I would like to see us pay that off,” Bostick said. “That way we would not be facing another payment for this following year. I would like to recommend that we pay that particular amount off and make our debt a little less.”

Concerns were also voiced about the purchase of the National Guard Armory building, which is being bid for purchase. Bostick said he would rather see the money go toward this purchase than fall into the capital improvement fund.

“My thoughts are that if we are successful in bidding for the National Guard Armory we should be able to stand with this kind of money without a problem,” Bostick said. “I can’t imagine anybody not talking to us. I just don’t want to see us put this money into capital improvement until we know what we are going to approve.”

The grants the city is looking to match include a $250,000 grant to expand the fire station ($52,742 match and an airport grant of $50,000 ($25,000 match). The airport grant would be used to make repairs to the airport including new concrete to revamp the airstrip and repair lights. The city would also like to look at future expansion of the airport.

Another grant, which has already been approved, is a $598,000 bridge grant approved by Sen. Richard Shelby’s office. The match for this grant would be $119,000.

The plan is to pay the money back over a period of eight to 10 years.