The college plans to build a new residence hall.
Frederick, Md (KM). Frederick County will be issuing economic development revenue bonds. The County on Tuesday voted unanimously to issue the bonds which total $36.1-million.
“We’re building a 200-bed residence hall on our campus to accommodate, one, a growing enrollment right now,” said Charles Mann, Vice President of Finance and Treasurer for Hood College. “We want to get more students on our campus. 50% of our students are commuters. All the data shows that students progress better and graduate on time if they live on campus.”
Mann says the residence hall won’t be the only project financed by these economic development revenue bonds. “Residence hall is not $36.1-million. The new residence hall, the total budget is $25-million which we’re borrowing $20-million. The rest of the money to refinance a county bond that the college took out in 2010 to build the new athletic center and do other campus improvements,” he says.
The county has approved similar bond issues in the past for other non-profit organizations such as Homewood Retirement Centers, Buckingham’s Choice, Mount St. Mary’s University and St. John’s Catholic Preparatory School.
Jim Cumbie with Venable LLC, which put together the bond package for Hood, said the County takes no risk in approving the issuance of these bonds. “These bonds are not sold on the credit of Frederick. County. They do not affect the county’s rating. They do not affect the county’s balance sheet. The county has no obligation to pay them back. They are strictly non-recourse for the county. Hood College takes all obligation to repay the bonds.”
He says the bonds will be purchased by a financial institution which will hold them for the benefit of Hood College.
Councilman Phil Dacey says the new residence hall will benefit the community as well as the college. “I think it will attract more students, and have a better on campus environment. And that’s leads to a lot of economic outgrowth for the city of Frederick and beyond to be able attract and retain additional students at Hood College. And I think there’s tremendous synergy here,” he said.
“We find that a large number of our graduates stay in the city and the county, and become taxpaying citizens,” Mann says. “It’s a win-win for all of us.”
Mutual Aid Agreement.
In other action, the Council approved a mutual aid agreement between the Sheriff’s Office and the Town of Mount Airy. It lets Sheriff’s Deputies provide law enforcement services to the town when local police are off duty, or cannot respond to an incident. The Mount Airy Police Department will also provide services to the Sheriff’s Office when it’s needed.
Sheriff Chuck Jenkins says it’s similar to mutual aid agreements the Sheriff’s Office has with other police departments. “And what this agreement does effectively is allows us to support each other. Frederick County Sheriff’s Office will support the Town of Mount Airy as needed. They will back up and support us as needed,” he says.
Until recently, Mount Airy took part in the Resident Trooper Program where the State Police provides a trooper or troopers to handle law enforcement in the town which pays for most of the costs. . The municipality ended that agreement and started up its own local police department.
Sheriff Jenkins says deputies already respond to incidents in Mount Airy at the request of the local police. “Over the course of about 20-months now since they’ve had their own police department, we have probably responded to assist them a half a dozen times on serious incidents,” he says.
The agreement allows the Sheriff’s Office to enter the town to conduct investigations and make arrests in cases that are readily solvable, and Mount Airy Police will conduct their own investigations if a case is not readily solvable.
Because the town straddles the border between Frederick and Carroll Counties, Jenkins says this agreement will not cover the entire town of Mount Airy. “Anything on the Carroll County side, the Carroll County Sheriff’s is gong to handle. Anything on the Frederick County side, we will handle. But if it takes cross jurisdictional support to respond, we’ll still do that,” he says.
By Kevin McManus