By COLLIN BROOKS
Washington County taxpayers could be the beneficiary if a resolution that has been pushed to the Washington County Commission is approved.
That resolution would allow the county to look at the option of an “advanced refunding” or refinancing their 2007 debt in the current market would provide them with a $14 million savings.
The savings would actually be $700,000 a year through the lifespan of the loan, which is 20 years. That $130 million loan came from the building of Ridgeview, Grandview, the George Jaynes Justice Center and updates to the jail that were implemented in 2007. However, if the commission were to wait until 2019, there is the possibility that they could save $24 million, but that would only hold true if the market remains the same as today.
“I am of the mindset today to take advantage of the opportunity we have today and not roll the dice on the something that maybe reality three years from now, ‘maybe’ being the big word,” Eldridge said. “Today we know that we have the opportunity for $14 million in savings, if rates don’t change from where they are and we wait until June of 2019, it would be as much as $24 million in savings.The question though is, how much confidence that rates are going to be the same years from now and I don’t have a lot of confidence.”
During the budget committee meeting on Thursday, April 14, Richard Dulaney of Nashville’s Raymond James & Associates provided the committee with several advanced refunding scenarios.
The one that will be pushed on to the full commission, with the goal to pay off the current debt from 2007, will refinance the rates from the current 4.4 percent to an area that will be between 2.5 to 3 percent.
Dulaney told the committee, “We don’t know where it is going to go. We just know about today, and today is pretty good,” he said.
The $700,000 in savings could equate to nearly 2.5 cents on the tax rate, according to Eldridge.
And with the capital project needs that are shadowing the county, Eldridge said any money saved will be money that won’t have to be generated.
“All these capital projects are being considered. The fact that the tax rate will have to adjusted to pay for them, this is real savings to the taxpayers if we are able to get it done,” Eldridge said.
However, before Dulaney was given the green light to look deeper into the advanced refunding, the mayor wanted the commission to be aware of a process that would have several more steps to go through before it can actually come to fruition.
“I wanted to let them know that we were doing this,” Eldridge said. “We have been watching this and been getting the refunding scenarios calculated for us for three or four years. But this is the first time that the conditions have been what I thought were very, very favorable to the county.”
By COLLIN BROOKS