The college made the request of Brown County commissioners during the commission's Tuesday meeting. The commission took no action.
Thomas J. Grimmond of Dougherty and Co., a Sioux Falls investment banking firm, said the county has the authority to issue $10 million in bonds a year. Were it to agree to act as the conduit on behalf of the college, Presentation College would have to pay back the bonds, he said.
Duane Sutton, Brown County Commission chairman, said there would be no way the county could be held liable or forced to repay the bonds. Auditor Maxine Fischer said the amount of work would be minimal for her office.
The improvements at Presentation College will cost roughly $11.5 million, said Cathy Hall, vice president for finance at the college. Of that, $10 million will be spent to build suites that will include 158 more beds. Plans call for half the beds to be open in August, the other half in October. The suites will be built near the on-campus football field.
Hall said the wellness center and athletic training facility will cost roughly $2 million. Infrastructure that includes green space and roads will cost another $1.5 million or so.
Grimmond said the county could approve moving the bond process forward with a vote next week. If that happens, a public hearing will be set for the April 9 commission meeting during which folks could offer feedback about the proposal before a final commission vote.
He said the county can issue bank-qualified bonds. With bank-qualified bonds, banks can buy bonds and write off the interest. That would lower the cost of repaying the bonds for the college, he said.
If the county agrees to act as the conduit, it would not have the ability to bond for any county-related projects for the rest of the year. The county has discussed the option of bonding in the past, but has never bonded for itself.
Sutton said the Presentation College project is a worthwhile one as the community continues to grow.
In other action Tuesday, the county:
- Approved updating an ordinance concerning illegal dumping at county drop sites overseen by the landfill. The changes specify the amount in assessments the county can charge violators and clean up enforcement language, said Larry Lovrien, state's attorney.
The ordinance concerning illegal dumping was originally passed last year after the landfill installed surveillance cameras at the fairgrounds and South Fifth Street drop sites to keep better tabs on people who leave improper items at the locations.
Tuesday's resolution set an assessment for violators of $100 per trip to a drop site with a maximum daily assessment of $500. After 10 days, the county could seek legal action.
The assessment will be levied against the registered owner or lessee of the vehicle. That could cause issues if a resident leaves improper items at a site with a borrowed vehicle. Commissioners discussed whether there would be a way to charge drivers of borrowed vehicles, if needed, but that would make enforcement more difficult, Lovrien said.
An assessed vehicle owner who lent a vehicle to an offender could ask for a day in court, said Tom Schmitt, chief deputy of the Brown County Sheriff's Office.
- Agreed to spend $4,800 to do a traffic study at the intersection of U.S. Highway 12 and County Road 12WA/379th Avenue. That's the road that goes north from the U.S. highway to the landfill.
Gary Vetter, county planning and zoning director, said the study will measure traffic to determine whether turning lanes are needed on U.S. Highway 12. If the study determines that turning lanes are needed, state officials have told him that they might be able to put them in during resurfacing of the U.S. highway in 2014. The county would not have to pay for that state Department of Transportation work, but will have to pay for the study.