Scott Gobson

Gibson addresses commission about refinancing some county debt.

“The pandemic is kind of a two-edged sword,” Mike Herrell told the Hawkins County Budget Committee on Tuesday.

The committee, which makes recommendations to the full commission, heard a report from Scott Gibson of Cumberland Securities advising the county to refinance a portion of its long-term debt. Because the Federal Reserve has lowered interest rates to stimulate the economy during the pandemic, debt on which the county currently pays 4 percent interest could be refinanced at a rate as low as 1.5 percent, Gibson said.

“To me it’s kind of a ‘no-brainer,’” Hannah Winegar said.

If the commission votes to do the refinance, it would extend the debt seven years, and the net result, including the refinancing fees, would be no increased costs.

“We need to strike while the iron is hot,” urged Jason Roach.

The funds involved would include a portion of the education debt service fund.

The committee voted to send the recommendation on to the full commission, which is scheduled to meet Monday at 6 p.m. at the courthouse.

The commission’s personnel committee also met on Tuesday and heard presentations from three of the four candidates for the veterans’ service officer position. This decision will be made by the full commission.