The Leavenworth County Commission Thursday officially signed resolutions that will move them forward in an effort to refinance more than $12 million of the county’s outstanding debt.
There are two separate series of bonds included in the proposed refinancing that the commission agreed to pursue with investment bank Piper Jaffray of Leawood, Kan. One is a 2008 series owed to the Kansas Department of Transportation for funding of the countywide emergency communication system upgrade. The other stems from the 2008 project to upgrade County Road 1 leading up to a new interchange with the Kansas Turnpike. Those bonds are owed to the Kansas Turnpike Authority.
County Administrator Pat Hurley said at Monday’s meeting the commission saw versions of the documents that would allow them to move forward with the process.
“You approved the drafts last meeting but there were blanks,” he said.
The first document approved Thursday authorized the preparation of a preliminary official statement for Piper Jaffray detailing the total amounts to be refinanced and the process for refinancing them.
“Essentially we’ll be paying those off and issuing bonds to get a little lower interest rate,” he said.
The second was a “home rule” resolution authorizing the refinancing, since there is no state statute either allowing or prohibiting the action.
Hurley declined to speculate on how much the county stands to save as a result of refinancing — he said the action Thursday was a sort of “first step” in the process. But by the end they will join a growing list of governmental entities in the county — the city and school district in both Leavenworth and Lansing, for example — all of whom have recently refinanced a portion of their debt to take advantage of low interest rates.
Hurley also said he did not know how long the process as a whole would take, though in talks with Piper Jaffray he said it could be relatively soon.
“They’re going to process through December as quickly as they can,” he said.