County encourages Partnership to continue services

By Jesse Campbell -

JEFFERSON-After enjoying a mutually beneficial 17-year fortuitous relationship, county commissioners are hoping the Ashe County Partnership for Children will continue to lease property at Family Central and continuing providing services to children in need.

The organization approached the board Monday morning concerning the possibility of terminating its lease at Family Central.

The ACPC recently indicated at a meeting with county management on Feb. 13 that the organization no longer wishes to operate the leasing segment of their operation and would like to cancel their lease.

Additionally, the partnership was asking the county to either payoff their outstanding loan to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the amount of $223,130 or assume the loan and begin making the annual payments of $38,440 beginning April 4, 2017. The interest rate on that loan is 4.5 percent, according to the commissioners’ information packet.

Estimated expenses to operate the facility are $102,000, excluding the debt service payment.

In March 2000, the county entered into an agreement to lease a portion of the old Ashe Central High School building to the ACPC for one dollar annually with a lease term of 99 years.

On or about that time, the ACPC borrowed funds from the USDA to finance improvements to the building and began leasing office space in the building to interested organizations. The borrowing was secured by a security interest in the ACPC leasehold interest, according to information supplied by the county.

Instead of vacating the facility altogether, Commissioner William Sands had a different idea.

“My thinking is we pay this loan off, get rid of that lien and the county take it over and hopefully the Partnership stay on leasing it rather than managing it,” said Sands. “It costs a lot to keep old buildings up.”

Should the county pay-off the loan within two years, the county would receive its money back, plus the amount of money earned through a new lease.

The county voted 5-0 to take over the lease.

Reach Jesse Campbell at (336) 846-7164.

By Jesse Campbell

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