The 2013 bond proposition for the new Woodward County Event Center and Fairgrounds was the subject of yet more debate on Tuesday evening, finding its way to the agenda of two county meetings.
The Woodward County Public Facilities Authority (WCPFA) began their meeting Tuesday evening with a discussion from Doug Eagon regarding a real estate contract between Columbian Club and Woodward Conservation District for tracts of land in section 5 T22N R20W.
On Nov. 27, 2012 a preliminary budget breakdown for the event center project was submitted by the Architects in Partnership, P.C. This was not a formal bid, just a proposal. The total funds needed were estimated to be over $12 million with $250,000 of that as a lump sum for building or land dubbed Soil Conservation.
In May 2013 The Columbian Club sold the tract of land in question, totaling two acres with a structure on Lakeview Drive, to the Woodward County Conservation District. The land was sold for $200,000. That land was paid for by the WCPFA in June 2013, then in January 2014, the WCPFA spent an additional $50,000, purchasing the existing Soil Conservation Building in preparation for the fairgrounds project.
“Not only was the property purchased for the Soil Conservation District seven years ago, an additional $50,000 was given to the Soil Conservation Service to build a barn,” Woodward County District 1 Commissioner Troy White said. “They do not use the Knights of Columbus building at all.”
Eagon was suggesting the Soil Conservation District should deed the land back over to the county, having been overcompensated for a building that was not worth $250,000.
“I would like to plead the case that this property be revisited with the intent that the ownership of it go back to the county and thereby back to the fair board,” Eagon said. “At least look at the possibility of this land being quit claimed back to the county, then back to the fair board, so that they could make use of this property."
White later addressed the Woodward County Conservation District at the USDA Conference Room explaining what has come to light.
“It was brought to light, or my understanding, that building is not in use at all anymore in the Soil Conservation Service, but dilapidating, needs renovated, which is just basically costing you all money, which you don’t have, and probably will not be ever funded again, to a sustainable level where you can do anything with it,” White appealed. “The county would be interested to a certain degree in that property… the fair board likely would be the recipient of the property, if they could use it.”
Before the end of their meeting, WCPFA approved an amendment to Resolution R-19-77 authorizing them cash in nontaxable bonds and issue taxable bonds.
“The market (in 2013) was such when these original bonds were issued that it created the tax exempt bonds, and they had more value,” White explained. “Now we're in such a market that interest rates are so low (that taxable bonds are the better option).”
According to White, this is basically refinancing the note at a lower interest rate. Depending on market conditions, this is what financial advisors are suggesting.
“The interest savings over the life of the 13 year bond to equal roughly $1.2 million,” White added.