published Friday, September 16th, 2011

Hamilton County Commission OKs $92 million bond package

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The Hamilton County Commission on Thursday authorized a financial deal totaling almost $92 million.

The deal, which likely will be completed in November, has several parts. The county will retire commercial paper — a short-term loan vehicle — and also refund older bonds to take advantage of lower interest rates, said county Finance Director Louis Wright. The county also will seek $27 million to help finance the new Red Bank Middle School, which is already under construction.

Commissioner Fred Skillern signaled his support for the deal.

“We’ve been able to show a savings,” Skillern said. “This is a time-sensitive issue. If interest rates stay where they are right now for just a few days, we can get this done.”

The county department will be retiring $41 million in commercial paper, which was issued in 2006 for a variety of projects, Wright said.

The county’s financial advisers recommended the county keep at least $25 million in the commercial paper market, which Wright told commissioners he plans to do.

“If we’re going to have to do it for this refunding, we might as well go ahead and lock in some of these low rates,” Wright said of the other projects folded into the deal.

Another part of the deal is a $23 million bond refunding. Based on current interest rates, that action will save the county about $1.1 million and save the Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority about $1.2 million.

“That’s at today’s interest rates,” Wright said of the estimated savings. “By the time we close this deal it will be sometime in November, and things could change.”

The bonds the county plans to refund date back to a 2004 deal, Wright said.

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about Ansley Haman...

Ansley Haman covers Hamilton County government. A native of Spring City, Tenn., she grew up reading the Chattanooga Times and Chattanooga Free Press, which sparked her passion for journalism. Ansley's happy to be home after a decade of adventures in more than 20 countries and 40 states. She gathered stories while living, working and studying in Swansea, Wales, Cape Town, South Africa, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Knoxville, Tenn. Along the way, she interned for ...

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