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County board OKs planning step in future borrowing

Taylor County set the stage for future borrowing.

At a county board session held Wednesday, board members approved an resolution authorizing the county to borrow up to $14 million.

According to Jeff Belongia a financial advisor with Huntington Securities of Waukesha, the action does not commit the county to borrowing any money, but is the first step for any future borrowing to take place.

With the retirement of previous debt, the county is looking to projects such as building a new highway shop in Rib Lake, expansion of broadband internet, and road projects. It will take full county board action to actually borrow the funds for any of these projects, with the interest rates set at the time money is being borrowed.

Belongia reported that he recently completed a 10year borrowing for Forest County with an interest cost of 1.3%. “I have never seen rates this low,” Belongia said, noting he has been in the industry for 40 years.

Board members approved issuing the intent to borrow. The authorization is good for five years. According to county finance director Larry Brandl, the intent is to borrow abut $5 million this year for projects to take advantage of tax rules in place and then look at borrowing again in 2021 in order to cover expenses of the broadband project.

In other business, board members gave a standing ovation to the members of the Taylor County health and emergency services departments as show of support and recognition for the work they are doing in helping the county deal with COVID-19. The number of cases in the county has exploded in recent weeks.

Health director Patty Krug said helping to fight the spread of the illness is everyone’s responsibility. “We have a social responsibility to help protect this community,” Krug told board members.

Additional actions from Wednesday’s meeting will be in the Oct. 8 issue of The Star News.