Bond refinancing will save NYA $80,000 per year

When financial consultants informed the NYA Economic Development Authority in October that refinancing the bonds issued in 2005 for The Harbor could net the city an annual savings of up to $50,000 in interest costs, city council members were impressed.

Even half that savings, Jim Keller had said, might be worth going through the refinancing process.

Last week, however, Mark Ruff of Ehlers and Associates returned to the city’s EDA meeting with definite numbers and even better news. The refinancing of over $6 million in bonds would net the city an average savings of $80,792 per year from 2013 through 2040 — a total savings over that time of nearly $2.2 million.

Ruff also told the city that it had received favorable remarks on its budgeting and reserves from the Standard & Poors rating agency, which affirmed the city’s AA- rating. He added that being in the AA category was critical to getting low interest rates.

“I consider it all to be good news,” said Ruff, adding that the only number less favorable than earlier projections was a higher cost of issuance ($110,622 rather than the projected $90,000).

Keller and the rest of the council agreed.

“This is fantastic,” he said.

How that savings might impact the 2013 budget was not immediately clear, but the council will be setting the final budget and holding a public hearing at its Dec. 10 meeting. The preliminary budget approved in September included a tax levy increase of about $121,000 (8.2 percent), but council members have been working to lower that number in several workshops since then.

In a second item of business during the EDA portion of the meeting, the council approved an agreement with Ecumen Services, the company that manages The Harbor. The agreement was mostly the same as those in the past, but was valid for a three-year period rather than a one-year period.

In other business, the council:
• Called for a public hearing regarding the final 2013 budget and tax levy during its meeting on Monday, Dec. 10 at 6:30 p.m.
• Certified election results from the Nov. 6 general election. According to a memo from city staff, there were 1,839 registered voters in the precinct and there were 387 new registrations during the day. A total of 1,704 voters came to the polling site to cast votes while approximately 100 voters went through the absentee process.
• Will hold a public hearing at its Nov. 26 meeting to set the 2013 fee schedule. Two changes to the proposed schedule from 2012 include the annual scheduled 5 percent increase on utility rates, and the addition of a demolition permit under the Building Construction category.
• Approved the hiring of Keenan Dummer to the city’s public works department at $11.26 per hour plus benefits on the condition that Dummer passes background checks. Dummer, a former Glencoe-Silver Lake graduate who was currently employed with the South Dakota Department of Transportation, was chosen from among four finalists out of 20 applicants for the position after an interview and skills tests.
• Saw increasing evidence that things are looking up in the local housing market. Another single-family home permit was issued in October, bringing the year-to-date total in NYA to seven new single family homes with a collective valuation of over $1.2 million.
• Viewed the local Sheriff’s Report for the month of September, which shows that while arrests are down from 2011 levels (29 arrests through September this year compared to 53 last year), other crime numbers are up slightly.
A total of nine thefts and one assault were reported during September in NYA this year, bringing the year to date total to 53 Part I crimes (there were 47 crimes in that category through September of 2011). In addition, there were 24 Part II crimes, predominantly property damage incidents, this September to bring the yearly total to 117 Part II crimes (compared to 99 last year).
• Approved a resolution allowing the NYA Fire Relief Association to join the Voluntary Statewide Lump-Sum Volunteer Firefighter Retirement Plan administrated by the Public Employees Retirement Association.