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updated: 3/12/2013 6:53 PM

Kane saves millions through bond refinancing

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Kane County taxpayers will save about $2.53 million in interest payments during the next seven years through a debt refinancing approved Tuesday by the county board.

The board learned the results of a refinancing of bonds originally sold to build the new county jail as well as even older debt dating back to 2002. The county utilized a live, reverse auction to sell the bonds for the first time. The process attracted seven separate financial institutions. The winning bid came in from Wisconsin-based Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated with an interest rate of 2.1 percent. The previous aggregate interest rate for the old bonds was 4.3 percent.

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"It's just an amazing result," said Finance Director Joseph Onzick. "It worked out extremely well on behalf of the county."

Part of that success stems from the county's AA+ long-term bond rating, according to a report from Speer Financial, Inc., a consultant the county used for the refinancing. The report sites three consecutive years of ending with a budget surplus, savings of nearly $51 million and the adoption of a balanced budgets in 2012 and 2013 as the prime drivers of that bond rating.

Overall, the county has about $81 million of debt outstanding, the report states.

"We consider the Kane County's overall (general obligation) debt burden moderate at 5.2 percent of market value and $4,069 on a per capita basis, most of which is due to overlapping school district debt," the report states. "We understand the county currently has no additional debt plans."

The county does have several long-term capital project costs looming on the horizon. Those include updating the technology for the court system, an expansion of the judicial campus and a proposed opening of the shell space at the new county jail to go along with the construction of a new shooting range for sheriff's deputies. All of those have the potential to add to the county's debt depending on how county officials decide to act on or pay for those projects.

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