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 continues to pay dividends for taxpayers in Morris County.

East Hanover Township and the Randolph, Parsippany, Pequannock, Roxbury, Denville, Washington Township, Mine Hill and Harding boards of education received low interest rates when they used the Authority’s Guaranteed Capital Equipment Lease Program in 2007 to borrow money for equipment ranging from school buses, vans and public works vehicles to computers and band uniforms.

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

Last year, 16 low-interest loans that amounted to more than $6.4 million were facilitated by the Improvement Authority.

The Denville Board of Education used the Improvement Authority in 2007 for three separate loans totaling more than $1.4 million various items including passenger buses, smart boards, windows, computers and software.

The Parsippany-Troy Hills Board of Education used the MCIA to facilitate a loan of more than $1 million for school buses, computer equipment and software, maintenance equipment and vehicles and television production equipment. This is the fourth consecutive year that the Parsippany Board of Education has participated in the program.

Brick Township in Ocean County also took advantage of the Morris County agency, borrowing more than $1.8 million for police cruisers and assorted public works vehicles. Ocean County does not have an improvement authority.

The Randolph Board of Education used the MCIA to help transact two loans totaling more than $546,000 for school buses, a mower, a tractor with a loader, backhoe and cab, a dump truck and an SUV.

The board of education in Washington Township also used the MCIA for two loans for more than $860,000 for computer equipment, projectors, school buses and a wheelchair-equipped van, while the Roxbury Board of Education used the Authority to facilitate a $199,790 loan for passenger vans and a wheelchair lift bus.

Harding Township’s board of education borrowed almost $40,000 through the MCIA for a telephone system; the Pequannock School Board financed band uniforms with a $14,745 loan; and East Hanover utilized the Improvement Authority to finance loans of $65,325 and $452,250 for police vehicles and a pumper truck and equipment for the township fire department.

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 Morris County municipalities of Morristown, Dover, Mine Hill, East Hanover and Brick in Ocean County, and the Harding, Washington Township, 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 close to $20 million in loans.

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