EDITORIAL: PC Promise Pricetag: $60.42 Million (loan) w-fund-raising sidebar
Blue Hose Nation now knows The Promise pricetag, thanks to a July 10 public hearing conducted by the Laurens County Council. A couple PC people were there to do the hearing. No one was there to do any speaking.
So, we must presume, everybody is OK with The Promise of PC - its new dorms on the old football field and its non-scholarship football. Of course, we know that’s not the case, but what’s done is done.
Looking at the pricetag of more than $60M - Presbyterian College is borrowing the money from the Jobs-Economic Development Administration, which has a pot of money that colleges and universities can tap into, rather than going to a bank - we see why PC had to retain that $4 million a year it was paying - no, wrong word - investing in football players (first home game: Sept. 15).
That money will be needed for the loan repayment.
Even though there was no one there to express an opinion, pro or con, about our local college’s economic future, here’s what the more than $60M will pay for:
-- construction of a 144-bed student housing facility;
-- acquisition of the east quad of the campus;
-- renovation of Springs (student) Center and student housing in Laurens Hall and Bailey Hall;
-- refinancing of prior indebtedness for the School of Pharmacy; and
-- payment of costs of issuance of the bonds.
“All facilities financed or refinanced by the Bonds will further the charitable purposes of the Borrower and College, respectively,” the public hearing notice says. In addition to or instead of attending the public hearing, anyone interested in this project can submit written comments to:
-- SC Jobs-Economic Development Authority, 1201 Main St., Suite 1600, Columbia, SC 29201; or
-- County Council of Laurens County, 100 Hillcrest Square. Laurens, SC 29360.
Recognize, of course, that the county council does not have a dog in this fight. It is giving no money to Presbyterian College - it did make an investment a while back in parking lots at the PC School of Pharmacy in Clinton. Still no word if any other county investments are ever going to come Clinton’s way (ie, a library). The county’s only function was to have a public hearing - and on July 24, to adopt a “resolution of support” for PC borrowing $60.42 million from the federal government - yes, THAT, multi-trillions in debt federal government. The money that PC will borrow will pay for a project that will create 11 jobs, and is considered “essential” to preserving another 350 jobs. We in Clinton are glad to have them.
Repaying the note will never be a Laurens County responsibility. It will be PC’s responsibility - more specifically, the Presbyterian College Real Estate Foundation’s responsibility.
Aside: Just a note about Public Hearings: Laurens County Council is having one about its $30 million budget on July 24th, and the District 56 Board of Trustees is having one about its $24 million budget on July 30th. Now that the State Budget is passed, all the other budgets can (finally) fall into place. The county budget will raise property taxes a little; the D56 budget will raise property taxes not at all.
So, why did the Laurens County Council have to conduct a public hearing about Presbyterian College? We don’t know - it’s some government thing.
And, why was the advertisement about the July 10 public hearing published in The Laurens County Advertiser? Oh, yes, PC is “Laurens County’s College.” Actually, it has something to do with “a newspaper of general circulation.” Clinton needs one of those.
There are dark forces at work that want to make it possible for public/private entities to publish their public notices on-line. Stuck there among the Facebook, Presidential Twitter, cute cat videos, and cave-trapped soccer players from Thailand, there’s “your” college borrowing $60,420,000. Show up for a public hearing, if you want to.
(Find out more about The Promise of PC in an on-line statement and digital version of the PC Magazine at presby.edu)