County can't afford capital projects, official says

January 04, 1994|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff Writer

The Carroll County government will have to unload its obligations supporting enterprise fund debts to clear the way for bond sales to build roads, bridges and schools, the county finance director advised the commissioners yesterday.

"Right now, as the capital projects recommendations come from the planning commission, we can't afford them," said Steven D. Powell, management and budget director.

The planning commission sent a $66.6 million capital budget request for 1994-1995 to the commissioners in mid-December. That is about $23 million more than what Mr. Powell calculated the county will have available.

The projects that really concern the budget director are the five-year requests. The county will have to "offload some debt" to able to finance new roads, bridges and schools in the five-year list, Mr. Powell said.

Getting enterprise fund obligations off its books would put the county in a more favorable position to borrow money through the issuing of bonds. The enterprise agencies are those that handle water, sewage, solid waste (landfills) and septic waste.

If the enterprise agencies default, the county would be obligated to cover the roughly $50 million in outstanding enterprise fund bonds, Mr. Powell said.

The enterprise fund agencies should be able to sell revenue bonds based on their incomes as self-sufficient agencies, he said. They should not sell the bonds as county government obligations, he added.

The water and sewer funds are moving toward financial self-sufficiency, Mr. Powell said.

He said the solid waste fund's status will improve if accountants can find a way to show both the expense of closing the landfills

and the revenues that could cover those costs.

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