Dundee Township has received a AA+ grade from a bond rating agency, a move estimated to save thousands of dollars in interest on an outstanding bond for open space, Township Supervisor Sue Harney said.
The rating is the second highest Standard & Poor's issues, just below its AAA top rating. The township's previous rating, prior to refinancing, was AA, Harney said.
The AA+ rating shows the township has a "very strong capacity to meet financial commitments," according to Standard & Poor's website.
"What this means is that when we're ready to pay back the bonds it'll be $70,000 less," Harney said.
The rating came last week after the township refinanced the remaining $6.9 million left on the bond.
As part of the refinancing process, the agency reviewed the township's entire financial history before it assigned the new rating. The last time the township refinanced the money left on the bonds was 2005.
Previously, the township would have owed 5 percent interest on the last two years of bond. But with the new score, the township will instead pay 1.766 percent interest on the four years remaining, Harney said. After 15 years, voters finally approved an $18.6 million referendum to secure 862 acres of open space in 1996, while increasing the property tax to pay off the bonds.
The township also secured $7 million in grants, mostly from the state, to buy and restore other open space property.
In the end, the township bought Raceway Woods, the Dixie Fromm Briggs Nature Preserve, Salamander Springs, Helm Prairie, and Library Springs Natural Area, Harney said. It also secured and fixed up Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary, she added.
The last bond payment is scheduled for Dec. 1, 2017, Harney said.