GEORGETOWN — In one fell swoop, the Brown County Commissioners wiped out about one-third of the county’s debt.
Thanks to money earned in a property sale of the site of a future automall in Mt. Orab, the Brown County Commissioners were able to pay down the remainder interest and principal remaining on a $750,000 loan from First State Bank taken out in 2009. The commissioners presented a check to First State Bank’s Mt. Orab manager Vince Roades worth $726,742.98.
“You better believe it,” Commissioner Daryll Gray said in response to a question if this was a big day for the county. “We’ve got two more (big loans) and if we pay those off we would be in good shape.”
Since acquiring the original $750,000 loan in 2009, the commissioners had been paying on interest twice a year, about $13,000 per payment. Earlier this year, the commissioners paid down $25,000 of the principal, and after acquiring $616,579 from the property sale in Mt. Orab, they were able to pay down the rest of the owed principal and interest on the loan.
According to former Brown County Commissioner Ralph Jennings, the original loan was secured to purchase the nearly 30-acre piece of property alongside State Route 32 from the Brown County Hospital. The hospital had previously acquired that land in the mid-2000s with the idea of building a new medical facility on the property, but according to Jennings, they never raised the funds necessary to do so.
In August 2015, the Mt. Orab Port Authority sold the property on behalf of the county, and car entrepreneur Mark Williams is now in the construction phase of building two 18,000 square foot car dealerships on the land. Williams is planning on moving Mt. Orab Ford to that location as well as Peebles Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. There’s also the potential to build three more dealerships on the site, as well as a restaurant and a hotel.