ALBANY, Ga. -- The Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority approved a bond refinance agreement with the state Department of Corrections Monday that will cut the state's interest on financing The Albany Transitional Center to "no more than 2.9 percent" and its terms of payment to 10 years.
Bonds on the transitional center, formerly the Lee Hotel on North Washington Street, are currently valued at $5,636,000.
"The refinance will be a big benefit for the state, and consequently, to you and I as taxpayers," Albany City Attorney Nathan Davis said. "I would guess that with all the discussions among people at high levels of government, someone in the DOC felt it would better serve the state to pay this debt down quicker.
"I would think their incentive is to have more flexibility as to what they would do with that property once they've paid off the bonds. They might want to sell it and use some of their own facilities to do what they're doing there. That's a question for 10 years down the road."
Miller Heath with Macon-based Heath & Associates Inc., which serves as the transition center's day-to-day manager, said the state asked his company to stabilize rent at the facility at a set rate when its agreement for 5 percent yearly increases became cost-prohibitive. He also sought -- and got -- a resolution formally recognizing the ADICA board as the board of Albany Development Facilities Corp., the nonprofit owner of the center developed to insulate ADICA from any possible future claims.
"The state renovated the facility once, and after the flood they renovated again," Heath said. "When correctional standards changed, there was a call for more renovations (of state-owned facilities). The state gave up ownership of the building and has been leasing it (from ADICA)."
Also at Monday's meeting, the ADICA board received a financial update from Jo Brophy, who works in the city of Albany's Finance department.
"All is well; there's nothing major to report," Brophy said. "You have spent 31 percent of your budget for the current fiscal year."
Assistant to Albany's downtown manager, Monique Broughton gave updates on ADICA's facade grant program, its downtown streetscape improvements and on renovation of the planned art park on Pine Avenue. She said cost for storefront improvements on the park will likely increase after apparent thieves took a newly installed steel doorframe from the facility.
"We discovered it Friday, and we thought the contractor might have taken it," Broughton said. "We found out today he did not."
Broughton said some of the 10 approved applicants for downtown facade grants had already used the funding to put up new awnings, and others had new signage going up this week. She also said bids had been placed on a streetscape project on Pine Avenue and that Georgia Department of Transportation grant funds would be used to finance another streetscape project on Jackson Street.