Scot’s Banker

By Nancy Lowry

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My husband and I recently returned from a trip to the UK.

We both have ties to Scotland, where the cultures of both enterprise and thrift are deeply rooted.

Perhaps these ties have stirred John’s desire to serve Albemarle County. His discipline and knowledge about money might even be the envy of a Scot’s banker.

I find it fascinating to hear him speak of county finances with which he is so familiar. For instance, this month the Supervisors approved budget amendments to fiscal year 2017 and fiscal year 2018. $75 million in added spending from bond issuance, capital spending projects and surplus revenue ($8 ½ million as of last June 30th.)

https://albemarle.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3061023&GUID=816A6CF5-0249-4E92-8069-42E6E9BC3C7C&FullText=1

Since his career was in finance he knows all about debt capital. He assures me debt is not bad, it is only a matter of how it is paid back that interests him. If, for instance, the county had landed the Deschutes Brewery at I-64 and 29 South he has explained how the 150,000 barrel craft brewer could easily have paid the county $2 ½ million a year in taxes. . . paying off a bond or two.

This Spring the Supervisors issued a lease revenue bond for $22 million, because they said interest rates were going up. John says interest rates in fact have gone DOWN since the March issue date. If that same issue were brought to market today the county would save about $500,000 in interest cost over the life of the bond.

I believe his experienced, level-headed approach to county finance would make any Scot banker proud!