County hopes to save $17.3M by refinancing justice center, jail bonds

To take advantage of low interest rates, Fayette County is looking into refinancing the 2001 bonds that built the expansion of the county’s jail and the new justice center.

The refinancing, based on preliminary estimates, would save the county a total of $17.3 million

over the life of the bond, which would be repaid in full in 2030. That figure includes a cash contribution from the county of $6.585 million at closing, which will come from excess proceeds at hand from the original bond.

The proposal from Merchant Capital of Atlanta would also create funding for the county to finish off the third floor of the justice center if deemed necessary. The new bond is structured so that it would accumulate over a four-year period ending in 2014 that would provide $3.7 million for that purpose.

From 2015 on, the refinanced bonds will save the county about $850,000 a year, according to Merchant Capital’s projections.

The current interest rate on the bonds is 4.98 percent and the new rate the county anticipates securing is 2.98 percent, according to a memo circulated to the commission.

Merchant Capital is proposing to complete most of the legwork by October and November so once the fiscal year audit is complete in January the county can be in a position to accelerate the bond sale if the market conditions deteriorate.

In other business, the commission is expected to approve a request to seek engineering services for intersection improvements at Ga. Highway 92 south and Goza and Inman roads.

The commission also will hear a presentation from GEBCorp about the county’s defined benefit retirement plan.