By Stephanie Johns
The Madison City Council heard from Todd Barnes, a managing director with Robert W. Baird & Co. in Atlanta, regarding an advance refunding of the Series 2005 Water & Sewer Bonds during its recent work session.
“With the various scenarios, you could save anywhere from a little over $400,000 up to $1.6 million,” he said. “On an annual basis that’s anywhere from $23,000 to $93,000 a year annual savings.”
Madison Finance Officer Karen Guinn as well as Wayne Tamplin, a partner at Treadwell, Tamplin & Co. and the city’s auditor, took part in the discussion.
Barnes pointed out that interest rates are “extremely low” and that the city could re-invest its debt at a lower rate.
The city currently has a 2005 bond issue with a call date of July 1, 2015. Barnes explained that a call date is the earliest date that a bond can be called in from investors.
Barnes said that a refunding could lead to gross savings over the remaining term of the debt by lowering interest costs and therefore payments.
Barnes shared information detailing four refunding options and told council members that they could choose which option they prefer later or even closer to the call date.
As noted in an e-mail Barnes wrote addressed to City Manager David Nunn, one option would have the city “just refunding the callable maturities (2016-2030) of the ‘new money’ portion of the 2005 Bonds on a tax-exempt basis.”
By Stephanie Johns
The two-day auction of the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum collection netted “north of $9.1 million,” according to Weiner.
He said the bidding “did get spirited” but pointed out that this was probably a once-in-a-lifetime chance to purchase one of the cars so the bidders were “very, very happy to own some.”
“It went fantastic,” he said. “It couldn’t have been more fun. It couldn’t have been more rewarding.”
He gave kudos to RM Auctions for putting together a “spectacular” event.
“It went off flawlessly,” he said. “The only disappointment was that it had to come to an end.”
Weiner said he was present to meet and shake hands with every person who took home one of the cars.
Hundreds of people from all over the world converged at the museum last weekend for a chance to bid on items in the collection.
One aisle of cars in the visitors’ parking lot revealed license plates from New York, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Alabama, Illinois, Wisconsin and, of course, Georgia.
There were vehicles with empty trailers, waiting to carry a successful purchase home.
Kipling Inscore from San Jose, Calif., said it was good to see the collection and voiced his regret at its breakup.
“It’s unfortunate that it’s not going to be on display in one place,” he said. “Hopefully, it will be on display in other collections.”
The online virtual tour of the collection will reopen now that the auction is over, according to microcarmuseum.com.
By Stephanie Johns
A request to demolish one of the last two historically African-American buildings in Madison was tabled until the March meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC).
While the 200 W. Washington St. building may look like one large building from the outside, in actuality it is two buildings. The Mapp-Gilmore Funeral Home used to be located in one side of the structure.
The HPC will ask City Manager David Nunn to hire a structural specialist to give an opinion as to whether or not the old building can be saved.
According to the Morgan County Board of Tax Assessors website, the structure is 6,552 square feet with brick exterior walls as well as open wood joists and a pine floor.
According to Laura Butler, president of the Morgan County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and a prior tenant of one portion of the building, the building was “African-built, African-owned.”
She said the NAACP had an office in that building from the 1970s through April 2012.
“It shouldn’t be torn down because that is historic,” she said. “You always can renovate a building; it may cost.”
Butler said the building was at one time home to a barber shop, a beauty shop, Franklin’s Restaurant, Franklin’s Pool Hall, a café and a dance hall.
Ethel Franklin said that her mother, Dellie Franklin, had “Home Cook Restaurant” in that building. After that there was “Fish Delight.”
Franklin voiced her opposition to demolishing the building.
“It is a historic building and I don’t think it should be torn down,” she said. “Restore it: let it stay the same on the outside and correspond with other buildings.”
By Kathryn Schiliro
Long-time Morgan County Elementary School Principal Jean Triplett has decided to retire at the end of this school year.
“I just felt it was the right time to retire,” Triplett wrote in an e-mail correspondence. “I have felt I was getting to that point a couple of years ago, but I never felt a complete peace about it until this year. I was always told that you would know when the time was right, and I guess that is true.”
Triplett has been in education for 35 years. She started teaching fourth and fifth grades in Gordon County, Ga. straight out of college before moving to Tampa, Fla., where she was married. The couple elected to move back to Morgan County after Triplett became pregnant.
Upon her return, she started at Morgan County High School (MCHS) in January 1982 as the DCT coordinator, with plans to get a position at the elementary level the next fall. However, Triplett found herself at MCHS until 1990, when MCES opened.
Triplett then became assistant principal of MCES, working with then-principal Martha Brodrick for six years before becoming principal herself.
BOE hears school calendar proposals
By Stephanie Johns
Members of the Morgan County Board of Health heard about low immunization numbers from Dr. Claude Burnett, district health director, during their recent quarterly meeting.
After seeing a peak of approximately 3,400 patients in 2009, the Morgan County Health Department has experienced a steady drop, down to about 2,300 patients in 2012.
Burnett noted those numbers “dropped off dramatically” but said that a similar pattern may be seen when comparing Morgan County to other counties in the district.
The immunization program experienced the largest drop in patients: from more than 2,000 patients in 2009 down to a little more than 1,000 patients in 2012.
Burnett said the health department used to immunize about 80 percent of the babies in the county. Since 1995, though, that number has “plunged” because doctors have started doing a lot more shots in their offices.
As to flu shots, Burnett said that now that groceries and pharmacies offer these shots the health department numbers have not rebounded in spite of a “fair amount of flu” in 2012.
He said he does not think they will see those numbers recover.
Board member Bruce Gilbert asked if the health department offers a shingles shot.
Burnett said the shot is beneficial.
“It cuts the risk in half to get the shingles shot,” he said.
Leah Ainslie, family nurse practitioner and county nurse manager at Morgan County Health Department, said the one-time shot costs about $180 per person.
She noted that patients are more likely to pay their insurance co-payment at their regular physician’s office and get a checkup in addition as opposed to paying the fee at the health department.