A legislative panel has learned of a new round of borrowing planned by local governments that amounts to over $476 million. Only $33.6 million of that would require approval from voters. A previous article reported another list of borrowing submitted to the Joint Legislative Committee on Local Government that totaled nearly $750 million, again with most not requiring approval from voters. That brings the total of planned local borrowing in 2012 to over $1 billion. Click here for copies of the borrowing submitted to the committee.
The committee doesn’t have the authority to approve or reject the planned debt. The Local Government Commission in the State Treasurer’s Office has the legal oversight. But the purpose of the legislative committee to make the public and state legislators aware of the amount of borrowing going on at the local level. Rep. Dale Folwell (R-Forsyth) told fellow committee members it is bad enough voters don’t have a say on most of the debt but when they do they aren’t told about the interest and fees that go along with the loans.
Truth in lending legislation has been proposed in previous sessions of the General Assembly that would require revealing the additional cost of debt but was rejected.