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Richmond County commissioners approve financing proposal for building renovations; enter agreement for another opioid settlement

Mitch Brigulio outlines several financing options to the Richmond County Board of Commissioners at the July meeting. Photo by William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — Several county offices will be consolidating into one building after renovations are made.

The Richmond County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday, July 2 to finance improvements to the former Pee Dee Electric office on Midway Road.

County Manager Bryan Land said the consolidation into the Public Services building would “improve operating efficiencies,” similar to what happened when the county purchased an old bank at the corner of Faytetteville and Richmond roads for the administration building.

The Public Services Building would house the GIS, Planning and Zoning and Inspections departments, along with the IT and Building Maintenance Departments — and “the biggie,” the Board of Elections.

“As you’re aware, the Board of Elections is in a tough area, it’s hard to get in and out of that building …so we’re real excited about that, “Land said.

To pay for those improvements, the county will finance the project through Bank of America Public Capital Corporation.

That was the best deal, suggested Mitch Brigulio with Davenport and Co., out of the received proposals.

According to Brigulio, the request for proposals sent to more than 50 national, regional and local banks was for $7.5 million— including built-in “cushion” — with terms of 15 and 20 years.

The two lowest proposals of the seven submitted were from JP Morgan Chase and BoA, however JP Morgan did not submit one for a 20-year rate, Brigulio told commissioners.

The suggested plan was for borrowing $6.8 million for 15 years with an interest rate of 4.0682%, with the ability to prepay “from day one,” Brigulio said, adding that there would be a 2% penalty for the first half of the term if the county chose to pre-pay or refinance.

“In talking with staff, (we) felt like the slight difference in interest rate and interest costs — $16,000, or about $1,000 a year — that was worth the extra pre-payment flexibility that came with the Bank of America Loan,” Brigulio said.

Finance Director Cary Garner backed up the proposal, saying the county would be “handcuffed” for a decade by going with the JP Morgan option.

Commissioner Dr. Rick Watkins said he agreed with the suggestion because it allows the county to continue the trend of slashing its debt and “keep the county moving forward in a positive direction.”


Earlier in the meeting, commissioners approved a resolution to allow the county manager “to execute all documents necessary to enter into opioid settlement agreements with Kroger.”


According to a document included in the agenda packet, Kroger will be sending more than $40 million to North Carolina per the settlement.

The document shows $34,121,659.77 will go to local governments — including $255,616.56 for Richmond County — and the remaining $6,048,509.77 will go to the state.

It appears the payout will be over the next decade, starting with this fiscal year.

Richmond County is slated to receive $4.8 million over an 18-year period as part of the orginal opioid settlement.

The Drug Endangered Family Task Force is charged with making recommendations on how opioid settlement funds are spent, with commissioners having the final say.

Programs are eligible for grants this fiscal year of up to $75,000.

In June, commissioners approved more than $300,000 in settlement funding for administrative costs, to restock naloxone for first responders, and to support treatment programs at Samaritan Colony.

Click here to read more about the June allocation.

Richmond County leads the state with a fentanyl-positive death rate of 77.1 from April 2023-May 2024, according to the latest statistics from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Click here to read more on local statistics.

Commissioners also accepted $500,000 from the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality Division of Water Infrastructure to “assist in the cost of implementing the Lead Service Line requirements as established by the EPA.”

Commissioners Robin Roberts, Jason Gainey, Justin Dawkins and Toni Maples all joined the meeting remotely.

NOTE: This story was updated to include the last line. 2:47 p.m. 7-8-24.