Improvement Authority Program Pays Dividends for Taxpayers

A Morris County Improvement Authority program that allows towns and school districts to borrow money at low interest rates to finance needed equipment has paid dividends for taxpayers in five Morris County communities.

Mine Hill Township and the Randolph, Parsippany, Pequannock and Roxbury boards of education received low interest rates when they used the Authority’s Guaranteed Capital Equipment Lease Program to borrow money for equipment ranging from buses to computers.

The MCIA was established by the freeholders in 2002 to give towns and school boards an innovative method of funding public projects and saving tax dollars at the same time.

The Parsippany Board of Education used the MCIA to facilitate a loan of more than $788,000 for IT equipment and school buses. According to Susan Tindal, assistant to the district’s business administrator, this is the third year in a row that the Parsippany Board of Education has participated in the program.

“The rate is wonderful and it’s simple to do. We wouldn’t consider a lease purchase any other way,” Tindal said.

The Randolph Board of Education used the MCIA to help transact two loans totaling more than $627,500 for school buses and computers, while the Roxbury Board of Education used the Authority to facilitate a $574,353 loan for school buses and a tractor.

“It was financially beneficial to the district. It is a shared service and we are pleased to participate to save the district money,” said Ruthann Quinn, business administrator for the Roxbury Board of Education. “We get a competitive rate every time, and the paper work is minimal. The district has been very happy with the Improvement Authority.”

Pequannock’s board of education borrowed $74,579 for a school bus, and Mine Hill used the Improvement Authority to help transact a $250,000 loan for various vehicles.

Mine Hill Treasurer Janice Congleton said using the MCIA is “financially beneficial” to the township. “It saves money in attorney fees,” she said.

The Guaranteed Capital Equipment Lease Program, backed by a guarantee from the Morris County Board of Freeholders, is an alternative method of funding, on a Triple-A tax-exempt basis, capital equipment such as vehicles, public works equipment and computers that may have been funded entirely through the budget process.

The Improvement Authority established the Guaranteed Capital Equipment Lease Program in 2004. Since then, the municipalities of Morristown, Dover, Mine Hill and Brick in Ocean County, and the Denville, Kinnelon, Boonton, Pequannock, Roxbury, Parsippany, Lincoln Park, Boonton Township, Randolph and Morris School District boards of education have successfully used the lease program to facilitate more than $12 million in loans.

For more information, contact the Morris County Improvement Authority at (973) 285-6020 or visit the MCIA Web site, morriscountyimprovementauthority.org.