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Bond sale saves $5 million

Future school property taxes will be reduced by nearly $5 million following a bond refinance.

The South Washington County School Board on Thursday approved a debt refinancing plan that will reduce payments by $4.99 million over nine years.

Debt totaling roughly $33 million from a voter-approved bond that funded construction of East Ridge High School and other projects was refinanced. The refinancing will affect the school portion of property taxes paid beginning in 2018, Finance Director Dan Pyan said.

The savings are a little more than the $4.78 million estimated last month. The new interest rate is 1.68 percent, lower than the anticipated 1.74 percent.

Superintendent Keith Jacobus said the sale's timing was good. It came among historically low interest rates and ahead of possible increases in those rates, said Joel Sutter of Ehlers Inc., the municipal financial advisory firm contracted by the school district.

The South Washington County School Board approved the refinance sale 7-0. School Board Chairman Ron Kath reiterated that the savings must be returned to taxpayers; the money cannot be used in the district's general fund or for other purposes.

Earlier this year the district approved a different debt refinancing plan that saved $10.5 million.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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