Refinancing two bonds could save city $800k in interest

Published 9:42 am Friday, February 13, 2015

Elizabethton City Council approved resolutions last night, starting the process to refinance two Elizabethton Electric Department bonds that could save the city nearly $800,000.

Under the refinancing plan, a 2005 bond for $2.2 million and a bond from 2007 for $9.6 million would be refinanced to lower interest rates. The 2005 bond currently has an interest rate of 4.05 percent and the 2007 bond has a rate of 4.4 percent.

Rick Dulaney of Raymond James told the council the refinancing could save $685,000 on the 2007 bond and $115,000 on the 2005 bond, without extending the length of either.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“All in all, this is an opportunity to save a substantial amount of money without extending the term of the debt,” said Dulaney, the city’s financial consultant. “Now is the time to take advantage of the lower interest rates.”

To refinance the bonds, the refinancing project will be put out to bid like any other purchase with the city. Interested financial institutions will submit a bid offering their lowest interest rates for the bonds. If the council is not satisfied with the numbers they receive, Dulaney said they do not have to approve the refinancing and can stay with the current rates.

“If you don’t end up saving money then you don’t have to go through with it,” he said. “You can always deny the bids. Right now though, it does make substantial sense to refinance and get a lower interest rate.”

City Manager Jerome Kitchens told council he had presented the refinancing options to the state comptroller who gave approval for the effort.

“I recommend we approve the resolutions to start refinancing the bonds,” Kitchens said.

Mayor Curt Alexander agreed refinancing seemed like a good decision.

“The most important thing is we are now extending our debt and we are going to save around $800,000 on the current net present value of the bonds,” Alexander said.

The resolutions to refinance the bonds were approved 6-0 with Alexander abstaining because of a possible conflict of interest. Alexander is employed by Edward Jones Investments.

Council approved a certification for the Elizabethton Housing and Development Agency to receive 2015 Department of Housing and Urban Development capital funding.

The EHDA will be using the funding for sidewalk repair and replacement, HVAC and ductless heat pumps, appliance replacement, handicap accessibility improvements, parking lot repairs, electrical upgrades, window and door replacements and other projects as funding allows.

The group also approved the reopening of a portion of Tipton Street from South Sycamore Street to Riverside Drive, and closing an alley between Well Street and Holston Avenue.