Macon-Bibb authority approves bonds for courthouse renovations

The Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority agreed Thursday to coordinate the issuance of $6 million in bonds to pay for courthouse renovations and consulting fees related to a new justice center.

Last week, the Bibb County Commission adopted the bond resolution sending it to the authority.

The bonds are expected to cover the costs of a $2 million exterior restoration of the Bibb County Courthouse on Mulberry Street and the costs of hiring an architectural firm to conduct a feasibility study for a new justice center, Commissioner Elmo Richardson said last week. The commission on June 3 will interview six firms competing for the job. Money not spent on those expenses may be used for debt service.

The bonds may be issued for a period of 20 years at a fixed interest rate of 4 percent, David Lucas of Sterne, Agee & Leach investment firm said at the commission meeting.

Commissioners expect to pay off the bonds with the proceeds from a new penny sales tax, but voters first must approve one.

A referendum for a special purpose local option sales tax could occur as early as July 2010.