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Flowery Branch OKs financing for new city hall
Construction could start in October
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Financing is moving forward on the new $5.3 million city hall in Flowery Branch.

The City Council voted 3-1 Thursday night to OK a $4 million loan for 13 years with BB&T.

Council members Chris Mundy, Mary Jones and Fred Richards voted for the measure and Councilman Joe Anglin opposed it.

Anglin didn’t state his opposition at the meeting, but he has criticized the project at past meetings.

“I see this as an extension of what we can afford, with the debt we (already) have,” he said in the April vote to approve the new building off Railroad Avenue and West Chestnut Street. “... In essence, we’re quadrupling our (overall) debt in the matter of two years.”

The debt on the building is less than city officials originally estimated.

In April, officials were talking about nearly $1 million in interest, bringing total costs of the project for taxpayers to $6.3 million.

However, Finance Director Jeremy Perry said Thursday night the city was able to secure a 2.19 percent interest rate — 2.16 percent if closing is before June 24 — with overall interest payments at $639,733.

The project’s total cost now would be $5.9 million.

The project would be covered by funding from other sources. Revenue from the current special purpose local sales tax, as well as local funds, would help pay for the project and cover loan payments, officials have said.

Construction could possibly start in October and end in June or July 2017.

The 18,000-square-foot building will be on now vacant property, and the project also calls for Pine Street to be extended from Church Street to Railroad.

The move will help bring city operations, including the police department, under one roof, as offices are scattered about downtown, particularly on Main Street.

It would also modernize conditions.

“It’s the year 2016 — I think the citizens of Flowery Branch deserve to have a city hall that has a (public) restroom and that is handicapped accessible,” Richards said said. “I think the city should present a better face to the public than a dilapidated city hall.”

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