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Greenbelt Bank, August 6

Members still uneasy about Hollywood application
Funds running low

Warwick Jones

Despite a $1 million reduction in the offer price, board members of the County Greenbelt Bank were still unhappy about financing the purchase of potential parkland in Hollywood. There was no dispute that Parkland Plantation was a pretty piece of property - 7 acres on the waterfront and with dock facilities. But at $4.8 million it was still a lot of money. And in the view of some Bank members, too much.

Hollywood made a presentation to the Bank at its previous meeting where it requested a little over $5.8 million. It was told to go back and see if it could negotiate a lower price. It did this but the reduction was not enough for some members. The property has been appraised at $5.82 million.

The board again decided to defer the issue and to give members more time to consider the request. But from the looks and comments from the meeting, a further and substantial reduction will be necessary for most members to agree to financing, in our opinion.

Members of the Bank board probably also had an eye to the remaining funds available for future financing. After the last round of financings, a little over $11 million remained from funds flowing from the first bond issue. The latter raised $60 million. The last round of applications was also expensive at $8 million, boosted by the financing of the purchase of a 290 acre parcel in Awendaw at over $5 million.

If the Bank agrees to fund Hollywood’s request at say $4.8 million, only $6.7 million will be available from funds raised in the first bond issue. Staff told the Bank that requests for funds submitted in the latest round, closing on July 31, amounted to $8.1 million. Assuming all of the projects are approved by the Greenbelt Bank, there would be a $1.4 million funding deficit.

However, at the time of the first bond issue, the County planned a second bond issue to fund rural projects. The Bank now has requested the County to move forward with this issue. But even if the County were agreeable, it would be some months for the funds to be raised considering the need to prepare a prospectus and other legal requirements.

The interest and amortization of the bonds comes from the half-cent sales tax proceeds

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