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County plans on refunding bonds
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Forsyth County News

Other business

Also at Thursday’s meeting, the Forsyth County commissioners:

• Approved a conditional use permit for a cat breeding operation at a home on Dr. Bramblett Road. They added a fifth condition that all cats must be thoroughbreds and proof of spaying or neutering must be provided by the cat owners before receiving the purebred paperwork. Chairman Charles Laughinghouse opposed the permit in the 3-1 vote.

• Gave final approval on an agreement reducing soil and sedimentation fines for the Waterstone Landing subdivision from $639,000 to $59,000, based on a 2008 county policy. The vote was 3-0, with Commissioner Brian Tam recusing himself.

• Postponed until Nov. 4 a decision on whether to grant a conditional use permit to T-Mobile for construction of a cell tower on Hyde Road.

Note: All votes were 4-0 with Commissioner Patrick Bell absent unless otherwise noted.

— Alyssa LaRenzie

Forsyth County plans to save some money by refunding two, or maybe three, series of bonds.

By refunding, the county can take advantage of the lowest interest rates in 40 years, bond counsel Roger Murray said.

“It’s like refinancing your home loan,” he said, though adding that rules are a little bit different for government bonds.

Murray said these bonds, which were all issued for water and sewer projects, by law cannot be prepaid until a period of 10 years in order to be worthwhile to the lender.

In the spring, the county will be able to pay off the two older debts after refunding for a lower rate.

On Thursday, county commissioners voted 4-0, with Commissioner Patrick Bell absent, to award the underwriting work to Citigroup for refunding of 1998 and 2001 series of bonds.

Citigroup representative Bryce Holcomb could not be reached by phone Friday to provide updated cost savings estimates, but told commissioners at a Sept. 28 meeting that there was a potential for $3.8 million.

The county also appears interested in refunding a 2002 series, but decided to continue monitoring the market for higher savings since the bond can’t actually be redeemed until 2013, Murray said.

The commission also voted to allow Merchant Capital to handle the underwriting of the 2002 series.

Both companies, along with Public Financial Management, had previously made presentations in hopes of getting the county to consider refunding their bonds for savings. The two bankers chosen identified the same ones.

“When you get two bankers to agree on something, that’s a great day,” Murray said at the meeting, advising the commission to “pull the trigger” on the 1998 and 2001 series.

Chairman Charles Laughinghouse said at a previous work session that the idea of allowing two companies in on the refunding was “to keep both players in the game,” or looking out for the county’s best financial interests.

At that meeting, the commission didn’t vote unanimously to split the refunding, since members were in disagreement about how to ensure the best business partners for the county.

“The intent was to reward both banking entities,” Laughinghouse said Thursday night.