UPDATE: Bonds purchased to help fund school projects
Hamilton County went to the bond market to finance $195 million in capital projects Tuesday.
UPDATE: Hamilton County went to the bond market to finance $195 million in capital projects Tuesday.
According to the county, seven financial institutions bid on the right to buy the bonds. It was announced Tuesday that Citigroup Global markets won the bid.
The winning interest rate submitted by Citigroup was 2.65 percent.
“We are very pleased with the results of this morning’s bidding, this is a terrific rate in today’s current interest rate market," PFM Financial Advisors Managing Director, Lauren Lowe said.
Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger was also happy with winning rate bid.
“This allows us to move forward with the capital projects that are needed for our schools as well as public safety needs," Mayor Coppinger explained.
Mayor Coppinger plans to use the money for several projects including:
- $110 million in capital projects for the department of education, which includes the construction of two new schools and other projects
- $20 million will go to public safety
- The mayor plans to retire $55 million in variable rate debt that has been used for education.
The bond issue includes a refund of $4 million in debt. The mayor explained that this will save taxpayers over 300 thousand dollars.
“This is another example of our conservative fiscal approach to governing as evidenced by our recent Triple-A bond rating by three major bond rating agencies, Mayor Coppinger added. “We know this is not our money, but the taxpayer’s money and we are dedicated to using that money in the best possible way to benefit our residents.
The bond transaction will be completed at the end of March.
PREVIOUS STORY: Some Hamilton County schools are another step closer to having upgraded facilities. Wednesday morning commissioners approved the funding for those upgrades.
Six months ago, Hamilton County commissioners approved the first property tax hike in about a decade to pay for a long list of capital needs. At the meeting, we learned how the majority of that money will benefit schools.
It's the green light some have waited for quite a while to fix Hamilton County's aging schools. Commissioners unanimously approved $195,000,000 in bond money that allows the school district's building projects to move forward.
$110,000,000 of the bond money will pay for the school projects, while $20,000,000 will pay for an expansion at Silverdale Correctional Facility. The rest of the money will pay some of the county's debt.
In October, the school board outlined a list of fourteen different projects to be completed in the next few years, which includes renovations, mergers, and two new school buildings.
Last week the five architects were chosen, now we've learned which schools they create blue prints for:
- Harrison Elementary School – Franklin Architects
- East Hamilton Middle School – TWH Architects
- Tyner/CSLA – Derthick, Henley and Wilkerson
- Snow Hill Elementary – Neuhoff Taylor Architects
- Howard School of Academics and Technology – Barge Design Solutions
The total price tag for the plan is about $125 million.
Dr. Johnson says by focusing on renovations rather than building all new schools, he says the district will save nearly 70-m million dollars.
After the funds were approved, we contacted district officials who oversee the projects. They tell us it's too soon to say if they will break ground on some of the bigger projects. However, they will likely start some of the renovations this year.