Members of the Crawford County Quorum Court are expected to vote on financing for the county’s new $20 million detention center during their Aug. 18 meeting.
Justices of the peace heard from Kevin Faught, a public finance banker with Stephens Inc., on the finance schedule and handling of the bonds during a special quorum court meeting Monday night.
Crawford County Judge John Hall called Faught to the special session to update JPs and prepare them to vote on the bond ordinance at next week’s regular quorum court meeting.
"This bond issue has to be handled in a certain way in a certain time," Hall told JPs.
According to Faught, Stephens bankers will "pre-sell" the bonds this week so that when the bonds are officially offered Aug. 18, the final sales will only take a few hours - as long as the bonds can be purchased at the "right" interest rate.
Financial rating is something investors look at when determining a bond purchase that is more than $10 million, Faught said.
Crawford County received an "A+" financial rating, which Faught said will help on the interest rate costs. Faught expects the county to get a good interest rate on its bonds, he said.
"We’re in kind of a good environment right now," Faught said. "We’ve had a drop in bond interest in the last two weeks."
Once the bonds are sold, Stephens will commit to underwrite the bonds and then the quorum court must approve the bond ordinance, authorizing the county judge and clerk to sign and finalize the bond purchase agreement, Faught said.
"Once those bonds are sold, investors are counting on that interest rate, so signing the purchase agreement will lock that in," Faught told JPs.
At least 75 percent of the quorum court - 10 of the 13 JPs - must vote in favor of the ordinance for it to pass, Hall said.
Starting interest rates will last the length of the bond, Faught said. He anticipates the county will be able to pay off the bond in eight years, he said.
Hall told JPs that all soil testing for the proposed jail location has come back with positive results, but JPs will not vote on the issue until the September meeting.
Also on the agenda was a proposal to contract SPMI in Van Buren to handle the county’s payroll system, but that item was tabled after Hall told JPs that the issue was more complicated than first thought.
Crawford County offices already have a contract with Apprentice Information Systems and operate its software.
Apparently the company also offers services not utilized by the county, one of which is payroll systems, Hall said. The county is going to check into what Apprentice offers before looking elsewhere, he said.