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RuCo officially 'Recovery Zone'

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Rutherford County businesses and governments can access stimulus bonds, now the county commission has declared itself a Recovery Zone.

Part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allows state governments to allocate funds for Recovery Zone bonds. Rutherford County has access to more than $12.7 million in these stimulus bonds.

These bonds are available to local governments and businesses in counties that had one or more of the following factors: significant poverty, unemployment, rate of home foreclosures or general distress.

“This just makes this tool available … we just want to make this mechcanism available for anyone who wants,” County Mayor Ernest Burgess said.

Rutherford County qualifies as a Recovery Zone because of increased unemployment and significant drop in the number of building permits issued over the last two years, Budget Committee Chairwoman Joyce Ealy said.

Recovery Zone bonds come in two forms: Recovery Zone Development Bonds and Recovery Zone Facility Bonds.

Recovery Zone Development Bonds are issued to local governments for capital projects like water and sewer, roads, or any kind of public project to help stimulate recovery in the county.

The second type of bond is Recovery Zone Facility Bonds. They are a form of private activity bonds, similar to the kind of bonds that Industrial Development Boards issues for the benefit of private businesses.

But these bonds can only be used to buy equipment and renovate buildings. Businesses can use them to defray costs associated with expansion, but not to buy land.

The county commission’s action Thursday night doesn’t issue many bonds, just makes them available for local businesses and cities.

“As of now no one has been identified for these funds but this makes these bonds available for anyone who wants to apply for these funds,” Ealy said.

The commission also approved a request from the Rutherford County Board of Education to free up $223,604 to begin renovations on McFadden School of Excellence.

McFadden will be renovated over the summer as Buchanan-Whitworth Middle and Oakland Middle schools will be competed, leaving Central Middle open to become a 6th grade-12th grade magnet school.
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