Commission OKs school project bond, grant application for mobile vaccination clinics

Published 10:31 am Wednesday, October 13, 2021

By EMILY SPARACINO | Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – The Shelby County Commission on Oct. 11 made decisions regarding a bond issuance for capital improvements at Indian Springs School and an application to utilize state-administered grant funds for mobile testing and vaccination clinics.

Following a public hearing, the Commission approved for the Shelby County Economic and Industrial Development Authority to issue a $13 million revenue bond to Indian Springs School for multiple campus improvements.

“This is something we’ve done before and allows us to use SCEDA and the county as an avenue, a conduit, for public funding for Indian Springs School to do improvements there,” Shelby County Manager Chad Scroggins said. “It has no financial bond reducing capacity for the County Commission. We are nothing more than a conduit.”

Scroggins said the school’s goal is to pay off the relatively short-term bond by 2029.

“Indian Springs is hoping to issue these bonds to help fund a new dining hall and storm shelter for its school,” Molly Brannan with Maynard Cooper & Gale said. “This would be a great way to help Indian Springs maximize the money that they are able to spend on their school and on their students.”

Scroggins said $12 million of the $13 million bond would be used for the new construction, while the remaining $1 million is the refinancing of the school’s previous bond issued in 2014.

“Federal law simply requires that to do these types of loans, you have to have a local government to approve the site location and the process,” County Attorney Butch Ellis said. “The county incurs no liability. Nobody incurs liability except the actual borrower.”

The project also includes general classroom and administrative space, library renovations and gymnasium renovations, according to the resolution.

The Commission also voted in favor of submitting an application for the use of Community Development Block Grant – Coronavirus Response funds to provide mobile testing and vaccination clinics to “not only meet the needs of the underserved, at-risk and rural residents of the county, but also to serve all residents being impacted by COVID-19,” the resolution reads.

The county’s application for grant funds is tied to the Community of Hope Health Clinic, a nonprofit that provides non-emergent medical care to Shelby County adults ages 19-64 with no health insurance and a household income at or below 200 percent of the poverty level.

The CDBG-CV funds were awarded to the state of Alabama from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development following the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act) being signed into law in March 2020.

According to the resolution, the purpose of the grant funds is to address the CDBG Program’s national objective of “meeting other urgent community needs posing a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community where other financial resources are not available” and “to meet CDBG-CV Program’s performance goals of preventing, preparing for and responding to the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19.”

“The Coronavirus grants have been awarded throughout the country,” Scroggins said. “This will allow them to do other things. If anything that comes up as a need, if they have this mobile unit, we can actually take some of the care to the communities, some of our communities that may have populations that don’t move around quite as much.”