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Sunday, June 16, 2019

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Local projects to benefit from bond sale

Local projects to benefit from bond sale

BATON ROUGE, LA - The State Bond Commission approved $244 million for projects statewide and approved more than $14 million in interest savings at its July 21 meeting, according to State Treasurer John Kennedy.

"We approved important projects that will touch every corner of our state," said Treasurer Kennedy. "We also continue to find interest savings, which is vitally important in this tough economy. These savings benefit Louisiana's taxpayers."

Two local projects approved total more than $60 million that will help pay for a new Lafourche Parish jail and upgrade the medical records system at Terrebonne General Medical Center.

Public agencies sell bonds as a way of borrowing money to pay for major projects and use tax money or other revenue to repay the debt over time.

Kennedy said the state was able to save about $14 million by selling the bonds at a lower interest rate than had been predicted.

Here's a quick look at the two local projects on the list:

Lafourche jail: The state board approved the sale of $44 million worth of bonds for the construction project. Discussed for years, officials broke ground on the new jail in June across the road from the current one, along La. 3185 at Veterans Boulevard in Thibodaux.

Sheriff Craig Webre has estimated that the 600-bed jail will cost about $30 million to construct and should be complete sometime next year. The debt will be repaid with money from a 0.2 percent sales tax parish voters approved in May 2015.

The current jail, built in 1976, was designed to hold fewer than 100 inmates. It now has a capacity to hold up to 245 inmates, but the parish has been forced to house inmates in other parishes because of a lack of room.

TGMC medical records: Officials at the public hospital said last month that the $20 million from the bond sale is meant to upgrade an outdated system to one that fits new federal requirements. The new system allows patient records to be moved electronically among doctors and hospitals.

The Terrebonne Parish Council approved the bond sale in June. The debt will be repaid using hospital revenue.

The Louisiana State Bond Commission meets monthly to review and approve applications from parishes, municipalities, special taxing districts, and other political subdivisions of the State requesting authority to incur debt.