Durham County OKs tax-exempt financing for charter school

CorrespondentSeptember 11, 2012 

— Durham County commissioners unanimously supported a charter school’s request to receive up to $17 million in tax-exempt financing for expansion and equipment.

The commissioners held a public hearing Monday night on the financing for Durham charter school Voyager Academy, which seeks to buy and equip a 76,000 square-foot building on 8.5 acres at 4302 Ben Franklin Blvd., according to county documents.

The charter school, which started serving fourth- through seventh-graders in 2007, has been adding grades on a path to serve kindergarteners to 12th-graders.

The financing would be provided by a state of Wisconsin Public Finance Authority, which provides local governments and private entities across the nation access to low-cost, tax-exempt financing for projects that benefit the public and promote economic development, according to the authority’s website.

The Wisconsin authority requires the approval of the elected board overseeing the jurisdiction in which the financing request is being made. The county has no financial responsibility for the debt, and Voyager Foundation Inc. will be solely responsible for paying it back, said Assistant County Attorney Carol Hammett.

Jeff Poley, Voyager’s bond counsel with Raleigh firm Parker Poe, was the only person who spoke at the required public hearing.

Poley said Wisconsin officials created the Public Finance Authority after the National League of Cities and the National Association of Counties asked the state to create an entity that could authorize bonds for qualified borrowers across the nation.

“So the thought was having one national issuer would reduce issuance costs for a number of borrowers,” he said.

Bridges: 919-564-9330

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