County saving about $2M by refinancing bonds

Interest rates aren’t low on just new mortgages nowadays.

They’re also low on bonds, and Chisago County is looking to take advantage of lower interest rates by refinancing millions of dollars in bonds.

During its regular meeting July 18, County Administrator Bruce Messelt explained to the commissioners that the county is required to refinance bonds issued back in 2007 to the tune of about $5.2 million, which were utilized to construct the county’s new Emergency Communications Center and purchase land near the intersection of Highway 8 and Pleasant Valley Road in Center City.

Refinancing those bonds will save about $160,000.

In addition to refinancing the bonds used for the ECC and land purchase, the board also unanimously approved the solicitation of a sale for $24.8 million in general obligation-refunding bonds.

Added together, the refinancing of bonds totals a savings of almost $2 million.

The county will award the bonds Aug. 15.

Messelt said the money garnered from the refinancing would go toward paying down existing debt incurred from building the ECC.

“I think this is a great proposal,” Board Chairman George McMahon said.

Improvements slated for government center

The drainage around the Chisago County Government Center in Center City isn’t exactly stellar, and the board voted unanimously to do something about it.

Messelt said there are drainage issues at the front of the building, along with the parking lots on the south and east sides of the building.

He suggested the board approve $50,000 worth of improvements that would mitigate the issue and filter water before it goes into North Center Lake.

The county would only be on the hook for about $8,000 of the construction costs.

The Lake Improvement District is kicking in $13,000 for the upgrades, and the Soil and Water Conservation District is covering $20,000 of the cost.

The final approval for the project should happen in August.

New medical examiner services agreement

Also during the meeting, the board voted unanimously to pull out of a joint powers agreement with seven other Minnesota counties that implement the services of Dr. Lindsey Thomas at Regina Medical Center in Hastings for medical examiner services.

Thomas voluntarily resigned from the appointed three-year post as Chisago County’s medical examiner because Regina Medical Center doesn’t have enough space to handle the incoming workload.

The board then approved a four-year agreement with Dr. A. Quinn Strobel and the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office in Anoka.

Messelt said the new agreement will cost the county about $20,000 a year more, but agreements with Hennepin or Ramsey County would have cost about the same amount.

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