Bartholomew County agrees to pay cash for new building

Bartholomew County officials say that a move to pay off the new court services building with cash, instead of a loan, will save the county more than three quarters of a million dollars.

Bartholomew County Council approved the request by the County Commissioners this week to spend up to $2.2 million dollars from the general fund reserves to pay off the new building behind the Bartholomew County Jail, rather than borrow the money from the city of Columbus.

Depending on the interest rate charged for the loan, the county will save hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest over the 15-year-life of the loan.

Council president Greg Duke asked for assurances from the County Commissioners that they would not come back for more funds for the project after the approval of the loan payoff. County Commissioner Larry Kleinhenz said that any needed additional funds could come from the commissioners-controlled income tax revenues.

The $3.6 million project was part of a land swap between the city of Columbus and Bartholomew County governments. The goal was to clear the large parking space between Second and Third streets so the city could facilitate a new hotel conference center on that property.

In exchange for the county giving up the parking lot and old court services building, the city agreed to pay the first $1.5 million to construct the new court services building. The city, through the redevelopment commission, also agreed to finance the rest of the cost over 15 years through a lease-purchase arrangement with the county.