Fannin County faces debt for new fire station

Fannin County Post 1 Commissioner Earl Johnson was not happy when the idea of bonded debt came up at the February 27 commission board meeting, and the subject is likely to resurface when the commissioners meet March 13.

County Finance Director Robin Gazaway told the commissioners money would have to be borrowed to complete new fire station/911 center being built on Windy Ridge Road, and she and Commission Chairman Stan Helton had already been looking at options.

This news did not sit well with Johnson who asked, “You’re talking to bond people?”

Gazaway said she and Helton had been gathering information on revenue or general obligation bonds as well as other financing options.

The county is under budget one-third of the way into the $3 million construction project, but completing the work is likely to leave the county in debt, Gazaway said. 

“We’ve looked at this and knew we’d have to borrow some funds. We felt like we could finance out of pocket about 75 percent of the fire station with funds we had,” Gazaway said.

She said there are options in borrowing anywhere from $600,000 to $1.2 million. “We haven’t finalized anything. We’re just talking to the bond people about best avenues or interest rates,” Gazaway said.

“We probably need to talk pretty soon,” Johnson said.

“We’re talking about it now,” Gazaway said.

“No, I’m talking about you and me because I’m not in favor of getting a bond. I think we need to know these things ahead of time so when speaking I know where we stand financially,” Johnson said.

No final decision was made.

The News Observer

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