Supervisors award short-term note for jail site work to Riverhills Bank

Published 12:20 pm Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Warren County is one step closer to its long-awaited new jail facility, as the Board of Supervisors awarded a bid to Riverhills Bank for a short-term note to secure financing for site preparation and pre-construction work on the property.

During the board’s Monday morning meeting, bids from Cadence Bank, Riverhills and Trustmark Bank were unsealed and presented to Nick Schorr, of Government Consultants LLC, to present a recommendation. Cadence Bank bid 5.82% interest per annum at the tax-exempt rate and 5.89% at the taxable rate; Riverhills Bank bid 4.08% interest at the tax-exempt rate and 5.46% at the taxable rate; and Trustmark bid 4.68% at the tax-exempt rate and 6.12% at the taxable rate.

When it came time to present a recommendation to the board, Schorr recommended Riverhills Bank, as its bid was significantly lower than the other two lenders.

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“Noting the difference between the taxable and tax-exempt rates, we’re going to award based on the taxable rate unless counsel can find a way to make it tax-exempt,” Schorr said. “It’s pretty widespread between rates, but a pretty aggressive bid from Riverhills Bank. I think it’s pretty telling, and well below where the market is.”

Board Attorney Blake Teller later explained that the value of the short-term note is $6.7 million, which will allow the county to complete preparation work before securing permanent financing for the construction of the facility.

“This is simply a holdover to get some money quickly to be working on the land prep, and it’ll be paid out in the land financing,” Teller said.

The new jail is to be built on 42 acres off Highway 80, east of Highways 27 and 61 North, at a location chosen during the previous board administration.

District 4 Supervisor Dr. Jeff Holland said Monday afternoon that the total projected cost for the facility and associated fees will not be determined until at least 50 percent of the building has been designed.

“All we’ve done so far is guestimate what the county can manage to pay so far without raising taxes,” Holland said.