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Wednesday, 12 September 2012 00:00

Refinancing past debt could net Haywood big savings

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Low interest rates have prompted Haywood County to consider refinancing its outstanding debt dating back to various building projects over the years.

The county will hire a financial analyst to review all its loans and their interest rates, compared to the rates the county could get if it refinanced, and whether doing so would be financially advantageous.

Julie Davis, the county finance director, received permission from the Board of Commissioners this week to hire First Southwest, a Charlotte-based financial advisory firm, to look into it.

Haywood County currently has about $71.1 million in outstanding debt in 14 different past projects, including the justice center, the historic courthouse renovations, the new Department of Social Services building, and numerous schools. Its interest rates range from as low 1.69 percent to as high as five percent.

Refinancing could possibly save the county $35,000 to $45,000 per year in its various loan payments, according to a report by Davis.

“It looks like it’s going to make sense to do a re-funding,” Davis said.

How much the county pays each year varies but currently it shells out about $9.4 million yearly toward its debt.

The contract between the county and First Southwest is contingent on how many of its outstanding bonds and loans it decides to refinance. However, if the county decides not to refinance anything, it could still be assessed a fee, estimated between $15,000 and $20,000 for the financial services.

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