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Ceremony celebrates debt paid
Plans to burn copy of jail security deed
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A celebration is planned Thursday to burn the paid-in-full security deed on the Dawson County Law Enforcement Center.

The 4 p.m. ceremony, which will include several speakers, will be held in front of the jail. The community is invited.

"We'll actually have a copy of the security deed that's been released that was against the building and we'll actually have a ceremony where we burn that deed," said County Manager Kevin Tanner.

The loan on the jail and a second loan the county took out to build a parking lot for the courthouse were both paid off on Dec. 3 at a savings of nearly $5 million to the county.

"The purpose of this ceremony is purely symbolic that shows we were able to bring that project to a complete close," Tanner said. "I don't think a project is completed until it's designed, built and the last dollar is paid on [it].

"This ceremony symbolizes that the project is complete, that this is owned by the citizens of this county, that there's no liens or any other interest against those buildings."

Commissioners voted in November to retire the debt early. The remaining $4.3 million owed on the detention center was scheduled to be paid off by December 2020, while the last payment toward the $678,000 on the parking lot was scheduled for December 2021.
Tanner said the county was able to streamline costs during the construction of the government center to bring costs in way under budget.

"In doing so, we were able to save enough money to go ahead and pay off the detention center debt and the parking lot debt about eight years early," he said.

Based on current collections and projections from a sinking investment fund, the county is also on track to have the courthouse and government center paid off by 2015.

"One of my personal concerns as a county manager and as a citizen of Dawson County is the county's debt and making sure we had adequate resources in place and a plan in place to pay all that debt off," said Tanner, who is leaving his post at year's end to represent District 9 in the state House of Representatives.

"By 2015, the county will have very little debt, and I think that bodes well for our citizens and for our commissioners to be able to keep property taxes as low as possible."

Tanner went on to note that there has "not been a mileage increase by the Dawson County Board of Commissioners now in well over eight years. That's much more than many of our neighbors are able to say, so we are very thankful for that."