Gadsden commission to refinance bond

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By Alice Du Pont

The Board of County Commissioners, during the regular Dec. 18 meeting, authorized the staff to move forward with refinancing the county’s $10 million Sales Tax Revenue Refunding Bond, series 2010 (Gadsden Memorial Hospital Project).

The bond was initially issued by the county Dec. 30, 2008, to finance the construction, renovation and improvements to Gadsden Memorial Hospital and refinanced it March 18, 2010, because of lower interest rates at the time. Since March 18, 2008, interest rates have dropped, and the county has the opportunity to achieve more savings by refinancing the bond issues in 2010, said County Administrator Robert Presnell.

On the advice of the county’s financial advisor, Jim Gollahon, and the county Bond Counsel, JoLinda Herring both agreed given the current market conditions, the county could refund the board with an estimated interest rate of 2.90 percent and the same maturity of March 18, 2030. The total debt service savings, net of refunding expenses, would be approximately $1.83 million, which would lower the county’s payments by approximately $107,000 per year. The net present value savings would be approximately $1.44 million or 15.9 percent of the remaining balance of the refunding debt.

It was also recommended and accepted that Gollahon and Herring be hired to effect the transaction.
In other business:

* Commissioners voted to resume holding all regularly scheduled meetings at 6 p.m. beginning Jan. 18. The issue first arose in 2009, when it was stated that some people cannot participate in 6 p.m. meetings because they could not see well enough to drive at night. But Tuesday, during the meeting, Chairman Douglas Croley noted there were no citizens in the audience other than county staff and media representatives.

* Commissioners accepted an insurance premium refund check from Pat Thomas & Associates for $35,209.