published Friday, August 1st, 2014

Marion County Commission's Finance Committee eyes refinancing bonds to lower rates

JASPER, Tenn. — The Marion County Commission's Finance Committee met last week to review the county's debt structure, and Commissioner Don Adkins said members found some possible ways to save money.

"We looked at any of our bonds that were currently out that are eligible for a refinance to get a lower interest rate," he said. "It's not going to be an extension of the term."

With the help of Tom McAnaulty, the county's financial adviser and senior vice president of Stephens Inc. in Nashville, the committee presented the board with three resolutions that will allow its bond council to move forward with refinancing if interest rates drop.

The board voted unanimously to approve the resolutions.

One of the three bonds identified by the committee is a general obligation loan, Commissioner Donald Blansett said, while the others are for the Marion school system.

Adkins said refinancing the debts could provide "considerable savings to the county" on the bonds that total about $2 million.

In 2012, the board agreed to refinance a $1.4 million debt, which saved the county about $110,000.

The board followed former County Mayor David Kirk's plan to reissue Marion's bonds in 2011 when interest rates dropped from 4.95 percent to 3.77 percent.

That move saved the county nearly $1 million, or about $75,000 per year, over the life of those bonds.

Blansett said if refinancing is done on these debts in the future, there will be no prepayment penalties for the county.

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryan lewis34@gmail.com.

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