Wheeling to save money by paying off old loans

In a move that will save Wheeling a big chunk of change, the village board on Monday agreed to borrow money to pay off about $18.5 million in older debt.

The loans in question were taken out in 2008 and 2009, and they mature in 2027. They paid for the construction of village hall, fire department and public works buildings and other efforts.

In all, the village borrowed about $40 million for the projects. The bonds being targeted by Monday's action accounted for $30 million of that sum, village Finance Director Michael Kaplan said.

Paying off the older debt now in a process called refunding is beneficial because interest rates on municipal bonds are at historically low levels, Kaplan said in a memo.

The move will lower the village's interest payments and generate $75,000 to $135,000 in savings, Kaplan said during Monday's village board meeting.

The extra cash will go toward the annual property tax levy and boost revenue in the local water and sewer fund, officials said.

Village President Pat Horcher said the financial maneuver will save the village money "during still uncertain economic times."

"It's responsible governance," Horcher said before the meeting.

The board unanimously approved the proposal Monday.

The exact amount of savings won't be known until the day of the transaction because of market fluctuations. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the month.

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