By Wednesday, we'll finally know whether the school board will sign off on county Mayor Tim Burchett's plan to build a new Carter Elementary. (Actually, we'll probably have a pretty good idea after Tuesday's blab session, but I digress.)
Here's something that hasn't been reported yet. Because, the sixth floor Deathstar spin squad hasn't really gotten this out. Not sure why. But, I figure it's worth mentioning.
All this talk about selling land to build a new school? Naw. They don't really have to do that. Not entirely. The county says it needs $13.9 million to replace the busted-up East Knox County elementary school.
But, if you count the $2.5 million that it still expects the school system to cover, then we've pretty much got $9.7 million in the bank. Sooooo, that means we've got two years to raise the other $2 million or so.
Here's the breakdown:
$2 million: The sale of the Solway land and Commissioner Tony Norman's BMX track. (Yeah, the deal hasn't officially closed, but whatever. The sale has been approved)
$900K: Young-Williams Animal Center. You see the county has an agreement with the city to jointly operate the animal center as 50-50 partners. The county – along with some private coin – built the building and the city has been paying its share over the years. Well, the city fulfilled its commitment toward the building this year, according to the county's czar of finances, John Troyer. (I think the city actually paid up early, but who's complaining? Money spends the same.)
$3.4 million: This scratch represents E-911 money the center owed to Knox County for financing the construction of its building. E-911 recently bid out what amounts to a re-finance, thus paying off its obligation to the county. The E-911 board has approved the mortgage – which has been bid, but not closed yet – but it should close this month.
$900K: This beauty comes from a legal settlement (Class action, SEC v. JP Morgan). Click right smack here for the details. Or, if you want the easy to understand version, then here it is: Say your college roommate stole $20 from you a few decades ago, then felt bad about it and decided – out of the blue – to give it back to you. Well, you didn't really miss it because you didn't know about it, but it sure is nice to have. Except think about it actually being $900,000. So, really this is money we shouldn't have lost in the first place, but whatever. At this point it might as well be free money.
$2.5 million: The county issues bonds on behalf of the school board, which actually affects the school system's debt service. This is how the two sides were going to renovate Carter anyway.
There you have it. If the school board doesn't want the coin, then the mayor will use it to pay down the county's $1 billion debt (that includes the interest), which is pretty much a drop in the ocean.
Why the infatuation with the Devon Group? In my opinion, it's nothing more than a bailout for Bob Talbott and Raja Jurbran, principles of the Devon Group, whose businesses may actually be owned by Jimmy Haslam, who sits, with Jim Clayton, as "advisors" (owners) of the Devon Group.
If Burchette can't see through this charade, then he's a part of it. Oh, I think his wife is currently starting a new job working for Clayton's family foundation. Wink, wink, nod, nod, Burchette's street cred if falling rapidly and will soon be there with all other things Ragsdalian. What we had hoped for is not there, more cronyism and more public money for local players.
Fist bump, school approved.
Where's the rest of the story?
"$900K: Young-Williams Animal Center. You see the county has an agreement with the city to jointly operate the animal center as 50-50 partners. The county – along with some private coin – built the building and the city has been paying its share over the years. Well, the city fulfilled its commitment toward the building this year...
$3.4 million: This scratch represents E-911 money the center owed to Knox County for financing the construction of its building. E-911 recently bid out what amounts to a re-finance, thus paying off its obligation to the county. The E-911 board has approved the mortgage..."
So the county is financing Carter by taking on more long term debt? Contrary to the mayor's boasts?
Obviously the city was offered an incentive to pay up early (else-wise why would they do it). What was that incentive?
Are there no reporters capable of drilling down into these numbers and getting at the truth?
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