Thu, June 27

Town OKs loan details for Marshal’s Office

VVN/Steve Ayers

THE Town of Camp Verde purchased the First Baptist Church in December to become the new marshal’s office.

The property will become the new Camp Verde Marshal’s offices.

The loan the town authorized is expected to amount to $2.15 million with the interest rate expected to be between 4.5 and 4.75 percent.

"Our final interest rate will depend on the market at the time we close the loan," town Finance Director Dane Bullard said.

In borrowing the $2.15 million, the town will be borrowing enough money to purchase the church, remodel it, and have remaining funds left over to make improvements on the Town Site Master Plan.

Dec. 15, the town issued a check for $600,000, from the town’s General Contingency Fund, to Pastor William Stoll of the First Baptist Church for the purchase of the church property.

The new marshal’s office has been at the top of the town’s capital improvements list for some time. Town officials have considered the options of building a new facility or remodeling another facility to alleviate the crowded conditions at the current facility.

The town decided in September that remodeling the church site would be the most feasible option. At that time, town council agreed to submit a loan application for funds to finish the marshal’s office, along with additional funds for work on some of the new town facilities.

Mayor Mitch Dickinson has said in the past that he is hopeful that the marshal's office will be able to move into the new facility within a year.

The proceeds for the loan will come from the sale of bonds, which are sold through the Greater Arizona Development Authority (GADA).

GADA serves as an underwriter for the sale of municipal bonds. By using GADA to market the bonds, the bonds have a higher rating and GADA would also save the town additional money due to their lower commission costs for selling the securities.

If all goes as planned, Bullard told the town council, the funds should be on deposit with the town by mid-February.

During the discussions over who had the authority to negotiate the loan, council member Tony Gioia questioned the mechanism that would allow the town manager to oversee the final negotiations of the interest rate.

"It is our responsibility, as town council, to oversee public funds, not the town manager," Gioia said. "That’s what we are elected to do."

Dickinson then questioned Gioia’s confidence in the town manager and finance director.

"Council is within their rights to delegate this responsibility," Dickinson said.

Town Attorney Bill Sims pointed out that it is not unusual for a municipality to delegate the authority to negotiate loan terms to town staff.

"It’s simply not feasible to convene the entire town council when the final interest rates are set," Sims said.

"You, the town council, set the standards, and let them (staff) bring it home," he added.