Wood BOE to look at refinancing bonds

PARKERSBURG – Wood County Schools officials will look at refinancing bonds with the hope of several million dollars in savings.

Finance director Connie Roberts and a trio of attorneys and bankers spoke to the Board of Education Tuesday about the prospect of refinancing the school’s $22 million bond. The bond, funded eight years ago, is a 15-year bond. Brian Helmick, of Spillman, Thomas & Battle, told the board they could save taxpayers money over the 2005 bond rate.

“It is financially prudent to refinance these,” he said.

Helmick said the new bonds would not exceed $22 million and would maintain the same seven-year maturity date as the 2005 bonds. The bonds would not exceed a 5.5 percent interest rate, Helmick said

“Those are the broad parameters to issue bonds,” he said.

The system’s current bond rate is 4.25 percent. Because the interest rates are lower, buyers may pay a premium to get a higher interest rate on less money, Helmick said.

Because of that, the school system could be looking at a bond of $18.85 million, saving the system about $3 million plus interest over the life of the bond, said board member Tad Wilson, who is an investment adviser at Wells Fargo.

Wilson said there is a cost to refinance the bonds, but there is “real” savings.

“The bottom line is it is savings to the county,” he said.

Roberts also presented the board with a financial report projecting a fiscal year-ending carryover of more than $3.889 million.

Roberts said the system’s operating expenditures are $232,000 more than the prior year.

“We are about $58,000 over our average expenses per month than this time last year,” she said.