Chesterfield County Council voted March 6, in a third and final hearing, to adopt the Building Projects GO Bond Ordinance allowing council to borrow approximately $7 million for various building projects. Not everyone was happy about it.
Councilman Al Johnson, the only council member to vote against it, said, “I cannot vote to put the people of this county nearly $8 million in debt.” The approved motion includes a cap of $8 million. The consensuses of the discussion, however, was the actual figure should remain closer to $7 million.
Prior to the vote, council was advised by Walter Goldsmith, an investment advisor with Davenport and Company, that “now is a great time to borrow.” According to Goldsmith, similar bonds issued to government agencies in the state have been getting interest rates as low as 2.7 percent on 15-year loans.
“We’ve only given the employees of this county a raise once in the last four years,” said Johnson, continuing to argue with the necessity of borrowing that much money for building projects when the county is in such a bad economic state. “In all the years I’ve been on council, we’ve never borrowed that much money at one time.”
“You see it as a negative. I see it as a positive,” said Chesterfield County Council Chairman Matt Rivers.
“I was on board,” said Johnson, “until I got this.” Johnson lifted a booklet given to council members outlining the various projects on council’s wish list of things to do. “There are a lot of projects in here.”
Councilman Eddie Rivers said he was in favor of borrowing the money, but would like to know “more specifics” about how the money will be spent.
“It seems to me,” Chairman Matt Rivers said, “it only makes common sense to get the money while the interest rates are this good.”
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, or by email at email@example.com.