Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack is seeking court approval on a resolution that will reduce county debt by at least $43 million, the debt payment by over $18 million and save taxpayers more than $5.6 million over the next two years.
With the issuance of new debt as a result of voters approving the 2015 bond proposition, Commissioner Noack began to thoroughly review county financials, debt and fund balances. His review revealed the county had excess reserves in the debt service fund balance. He is recommending the county approve the use of funds received from the state’s Pass Through Toll Program and excess debt service fund balance to lower the county debt burden, benefiting the taxpayer.
“This is a great opportunity to save the taxpayers money,” Noack said. “The county originally budgeted to pay-off the bond debt over 16 years but I recommend the county use available funds and take advantage of recent market activity to eliminate excess interest costs.”
Commissioner Noack asked John Robuck, the financial adviser to the county with BOK Financial Securities, Inc., to review the proposal. He and County Auditor Phyllis Martin agree that this is a sound financial move. Robuck will present this proposal to the court on Tuesday, Dec. 15, when he is scheduled to deliver an update on recent bond transactions.
The proposal recommends the county deposit the $31.8 million in funds received by the state in 2016 and the anticipated $16.1 million in funds in 2017 into an escrow to pay-off approximately $43.0 million in bonds.
This $43 million cash defeasance would reduce the original amount budgeted and paid by the county from approximately $16.5 million to $10.9 million, ultimately saving the taxpayers more than $5.6 million.
“This plan could potentially improve the county’s credit rating,” said Robuck. “They would no longer be burdened with this debt and the annual payments and interest that come along with it.”