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BB&T wins bid for City Hall financing

By Jefferson Weaver, The News Reporter

As the old City Hall was continuing to come down Tuesday, Whiteville City Council members approved a financing plan to build the new municipal building.

The council voted to approve a proposal from BB&T to finance the new structure. The city will borrow up to $2.5 million at 2.97 percent for 10 years. The city will make annual payments of $234,000, and pay a total of $341,000 in interest on the loan.

City Finance Officer Colburn Brown said the city received bids from BB&T, United Community Bank, and Crescom. The banks were asked to give proposals on two scenarios – the interest rate on financing $2.2 to $2.5 million over 15 years, and $1.8 to $2.1 million over 10 years.

United Community’s bid was $71,000 higher than that of BB&T, while Crescom was $124 higher.

To help finance the project, the City Council previously approved a property tax increase of 1.75 cents to be dedicated solely to the project, as well as using the proceeds gained by an early payoff of several smaller loans and some money from the General Fund.

The project has been budgeted at $3 million, depending on final construction estimates. 

Brown used the occasion to announce some “surprising” good news for the city – sales tax revenues have grown by 11 percent this year, far above the budgeted five percent.

“This will help make up some of the difference in all areas,” Brown said.

The entire deal is contingent upon approval by the Local Government Commission. Brown is scheduled to meet with that state agency this week.

“I feel confident it will be approved,” he said. “We’re in a strong position.”

Stuart Rogers