Columbia County officials hope to borrow money from themselves to continue construction at Evans Towne Center Park.
If deemed legal by county attorney Doug Batchelor, officials hope to borrow more than $1.6 million from the county's general fund and repay that money with future sales tax collections.
Continuing construction would save money because construction crews already are on site, said county Construction and Maintenance Director Matt Schlachter.
"We should be able to completely build out the park by next summer if we get the money," Schlachter said in an e-mail.
Work at the park on Evans Town Center Boulevard behind Kroger started in October. Planned amenities include restrooms, a concession stand, a zero-depth water fountain, a playground, an amphitheater and a dog park.
The county has about $3.7 million budgeted for the park. It received nearly $1.7 million in bonded money from the 2011-16 sales tax. Also allocated to the park is about $447,000 in 2007 capital improvement funds, and more than $1.8 million from the 1-percent sales tax.
Another $4.3 million was approved for park construction in the 2011-16 sales tax. That's what officials hope to borrow from.
Before they can do so, officials are sure they must first repay $38 million in bonds using revenues from the new sales tax.
However, they are less sure if they must first provide funding for countywide projects -- expansion of the Evans Justice Center, dorms for the county Detention Center, etc. -- before spending money on more localized projects such as the park.
Commissioners likely will hear a report from Batchelor on Tuesday concerning the legality of the situation.
Commissioners likely will approve adding more parking to the park at a cost of more than $122,000 during the Tuesday meeting.
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