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Stockdale to provide ESD No. 3 seed money
STOCKDALE -- Wilson County Emergency Services District (ESD) No. 3 has crossed a major financial hurdle, after the Stockdale City Council approved “seed money” March 5 to assist with ESD startup costs.
The directors have been gathering the data necessary to determine the ad valorem tax rate -- up to 10 cents per $100 of assessed property value. Although the district will be classified as a taxing entity once a tax identification number is obtained, the directors are working with no funds at the present time, since the fiscal year begins Oct. 1. At that time, the ESD will be funded by tax money received.
The ESD was approved by voters last November. Since the Wilson County Commissioners Court approved directors, the members have worked to get established. Necessary actions have included retaining an attorney, hiring a certified public accountant, and obtaining insurance for the board members. This takes money, which the board does not have.
Stockdale City Manager Banks Akin said ESD No. 3 President Lynn Ray West had approached a bank for funding, to be told the only financing available would be a personal loan by a board member. The board was not comfortable with that option. Akin suggested a possible option was for the city to loan the ESD $10,000 from the city savings designated for the Stockdale Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for a new ambulance. Currently, the account holds $16,927.
The council questioned whether the Feb. 25 Wilson County Commissioners Court had addressed this, since it was on that meeting’s agenda. No one present could confirm this, however.
Mayor Johnny Stahl spoke in favor of the loan, if the county commissioners would match the sum. He also suggested an interest-free loan.
Stockdale Councilman Roger Armstrong also favored the $10,000 loan, whether or not the county were to match the funds.
“The people have voted on this, and we need to get something done,” Armstrong said.
The council approved Armstrong’s motion for a $10,000 loan, interest-free, payable after sufficient funds from taxes are collected, and payable as a lump sum. ESD No. 3 also must repay the city any legal fees involved in the loan process.
Wilson County Pct. 4 Commissioner Larry Wiley, after the meeting, confirmed the funding issue was presented during the Feb. 25 commissioners court meeting, and the county voted to assist ESD No. 3.
As of March 6, the county was seeking legal advice from the county attorney on the matter, including:
•If the county can legally negotiate a line of credit.
•If the county can serve as the grantor of the loan.
•Whether the ESD directors have to co-sign the note, since all are volunteers.
Wiley said that a $10,000 loan should be sufficient to cover any starting costs for the ESD board. He based this on the creation of the county’s other two ESDs.
According to “ESD No. 2 focuses on future, approves $27K start-up loan,” May 11, 2011, Wilson County News, ESD No. 2 received its interim financing from the First National Bank. ESD No. 2 President Keith Wildes and Treasurer Bill Kinney negotiated the terms. Repayment of the loan was also a single lump-sum payment by Jan. 15, 2012.
The next ESD No. 3 meeting was set for March 11.
While the Stockdale City Council was unanimous on this issue, it was split on a zoning change. See article above for more.
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