Wicomico Approves $23M Bond Bills

SALISBURY – County officials this month voted to approve the issuance of two bond bills totaling more than $23 million.

The Wicomico County Council last Tuesday voted unanimously to approve two public improvement bonds totaling $23,378,386 for nine capital projects.

“This is the next step in the process to issue our fiscal year 2023, fall 2022 bonds,” Finance Director Pam Oland told county officials this week.

In addition a tax-exempt bond, which totaled $15 million in funding for six capital projects, the county council this week also voted on a federally taxable bond, which totaled more than $8 million for three projects at the Salisbury airport.

“There are two series, tax exempt and taxable,” Oland explained. “There’s a requirement per the IRS as to how much is allowed to be in a tax-exempt bond by taxable entities … The size of that bond is too large to be included in tax-exempt and not violate IRS regulations.”

Councilman Joe Holloway questioned if the county had paid off existing bonds.

“Did we have any bonds mature that were paid off this past year?” he said. “If so, how much?

Oland noted that while the county had paid off a lot of debt in 2021, she said she didn’t expect that to happen again for a few more years.

“We’ve obviously paid debt …” she said. “I think 2025, 2026 is when we have a significant drop.”

Oland told officials this week that the county’s administration would be meeting with the bond rating agencies next week and that a bond sale had been scheduled for Oct. 18.

“The sale is intended to be Oct. 18, which is a day that the council meets,” she said. “Like last year, we’re asking council to have their morning session and be available for an afternoon session to set the rates. We have to accept our bids and come to the council with a resolution to set the rates.”

With no further discussion, the council voted 6-0, with Councilman Bill McCain absent, to approve the bond resolution.

The tax-exempt bond includes $2.6 million for projects at the Old Courthouse in Salisbury – $350,000 for window replacements, $500,000 for exterior masonry repairs and $1.75 million for electrical system upgrades – as well as $1,033,386 for a new Applied Technology Building at Wor-Wic Community College. The bond also includes $1.2 million for the Coulbourn Mill Pond dam project, $10.1 million for a renovation and addition at Mardela Middle and High School and $250,000 in bond contingency.

The federally taxable bond features $8.1 million in funding for three airport projects, including $5.98 million for a runway extension project, $1.5 million for a car rental car wash and $715,000 for a natural gas line extension.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.