Henry County considering bonds worth $180 million for capital projects

Henry County Presentation on Capital Projects August 2019
Henry County is considering an extensive list of possible capital projects. (Henry County presentation)

The Henry County Board of Commissioners heard a presentation this month unveiling how the county may finance its lengthy list of capital projects. Notable projects on the list include a convention center / arena, amphitheater, and new courthouse.

Davenport, the county’s financial consultant, has broken the list into several funding mechanisms. The majority of options involve Henry County borrowing or bonding money for the projects, estimated to be $179,422,500 worth.

The lone option that excludes bonds are $55 million dollars in proposed SPLOST V projects. The proposed five-year local sales tax will be considered by voters this November at the ballot box.

Property owners could see their millage rate increase by two mills if all projects are carried forward, despite none of the bonds requiring a voter referendum to approve. The consultant recommends using a combination of installment sales agreements, the urban redevelopment agency, and governmental services authority to sell the bonds.

The board will consider new financial policies in September with the first bonds possibly up for a vote in October. The first set of bonds, to be considered under an installment sales agreement, would cover county vehicles and building repairs. Other larger projects are estimated to have timelines of twelve to eighteen months.

Residents continue to wait for convention center feasibility study

First mentioned in December 2018, the possible convention center / arena has been a hot topic for residents and elected officials in Henry County. Originally proposed on Jodeco Road, the most recent concept focused on four hundred undeveloped acres along I-75 and I-675 in Stockbridge. The long-awaited feasibility study, addressing the project’s feasibility, capital and operating costs, and optimal location, is ongoing with no estimate given when it will be finished.

County officials have estimated the project’s cost at $90 million dollars to build both a convention center and 10,000 seat arena. A new arena project breaking ground this fall in Savannah is costing $165 million to build.

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