Voting for bonds is a little like Christmas after you grow up: What you receive is nice, but it doesn't come free from Santa Claus.

With the $50.67 million in city bonds just approved, Greensboro residents will get an improved coliseum, new libraries and revitalized neighborhoods.Down the road will come the payment - an extra $52.50 a year in property taxes for the owner of a house assessed at $100,000 in fiscal year 1992-93.

Add to that the cost of $18.5 million in county bonds approved for Guilford Technical Community College, and of city and county bonds approved in past years, and it's a lot of money.

At current tax rates and valuations, the cost could be as much as $137.50 of the city and county tax bill in 1995-96 for that Greensboro resident with the $100,000 house.

Bonds are the way local governments borrow money to pay for big projects, such as coliseum improvements. The city sells the bonds, gets the money up front as needed, and promises to pay it back with interest over a number of years.

The cost of paying back the money usually shows up in the property tax rate after the bonds are sold.

Greensboro taxpayers already are paying for improvements bought with some of the $89.05 million in bonds that voters approved in 1988 for a variety of projects, including street improvements, housing and neighborhood redevelopment.

For the owner of that $100,000 house, the cost of repaying the 1988 bonds amounts to $25 in 1991-92 property taxes. The amount will increase to $67.50 by 1996-97.

After 1996-97, the cost of bonds to taxpayers will begin to decline as the city pays off interest and principal, said C.M. Conway, the city's finance director.

Greensboro residents also pay a share of county and state bonds. In 1988 voters across the county approved $25 million in bonds to protect watersheds, but only $2.15 million worth have been sold. Payment on the bonds sold is $165,500 a year, which comes to just under $1 for a taxpayer with a house assessed at $100,000.

Including the GTCC bonds, Guilford has $53.3 million in bonds authorized by voters, but not yet sold, said Ron Waters of the county's finance department. The financial impact of those bonds will depend on when they're sold.

BOX:

The Cost of Selling Bonds

Bond issues approved Tuesday

State: $200 million for prison construction Guilford County: $18.5 million to expand Guilford Technical Community College Greensboro: $25.67 million to improve the coliseum complex $16.06 million for new libraries $7.13 million for community redevelopment $2 million for housing ____________________________________________________________________________ How those bonds will affect tax bills

Prison bonds will add $87 million to the state budget each year until 2009 for bond repayment and operating expenses. That averages $19.25 a year for everyperson in the state. Other bonds' costs will fall on property owners.

____________________________________________________________________________ The impact on the owner of a house in Greensboro assessed at $100,000:

$10 a year for GTCC bonds beginning in mid-1990s. $5 a year for coliseum bonds beginning next year and increasing to $30 a yea r in 1992-93. $27.50 a year for library, housing and redevelopment bonds beginning in 1992-93. $25 in 1991-92 for bonds approved in 1988, gradually increasing to $67.50 by 1996-97. ____________________________________________________________________________ NOTE: Figures not adjusted for inflation or property revaluations scheduled for 1992 and 1996. The city bond costs will begin to decline after 1996.

SOURCE: City of Greensboro, N.C. Dept. of Corrections and GTCC

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