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Wayne looks to refinance debt on Public Safety Building project

Wayne County could save $800,000 to $1 million by refinancing the debt associated with financing a $17 million project to convert the old Wayne County Nursing Home into the Public Safety Building.

Last week, the Board of Supervisors authorized the issuance of new bonds with much-lower interest rates than those issued in 2009 to pay for the project.

“You’re talking about $90,000 a year, give or take,” said County Treasurer Patrick Schmitt of the savings. “It’s a good deal.”

The county issued bonds — a government form of borrowing — worth about $9.8 million, and also used about $7 million in fund balance to pay for the project. Besides the sheriff’s office, the facility includes the E-911 Center, Board of Elections, Emergency Management and more.

County Treasurer Patrick Schmitt said the actual savings will be determined in October when the county is allowed to refund the current bonds and issue new ones with lower interest rates. The current bonds are about 5 percent, he said, while the county expects rates for the new bonds to be in the 2.75 to 3 percent range.

“Refunding a bond is the equivalent of refinancing a mortgage,” said the treasurer.

There is $7.42 million in principal left on the current bonds, Schmitt said, but another payment of $320,000 is coming, making the balance at the time of the bond refunding $7.1 million.

“It’s all contingent on the market staying where it is,” Schmitt said.

He does not expect that much of a fluctuation in those rates by October.

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