Crow Wing County received good news that translated into money savings Tuesday.
The county received a AA rating with Standard & Poor's credit markets. In awarding bids for a $3,360,000 general obligation bond sale, UBS Financial Services Inc. of New York was the winning bidder with a price of $3,409,428.25. The net interest cost is $88,618,42 at a rate of 1.27 percent.
Bruce Kimmel, Ehlers senior financial adviser, told commissioners the county received 11 bids, far above the average of six or seven typical in today's market. The number of competitive bids points to a strong position for the county's financial management and reflects well on the county's staff in the auditor's office, Kimmel said.
"This is a great achievement," Kimmel said. "It really reflects much great work both on the staff level and the steps the county board has taken."
The general obligation bond sale is for a refinancing for the detention facility bonds and capital equipment. Kimmel said the market is very interested in short-term debt and the county's strong financial position will reap benefits. In a rough estimate compared to the previous interest rate projections, Kimmel said the county saw a $50,000 to $60,000 savings and just on the detention facility the county is saving about $171,000 on the jail.
The AA rating is two notches below the best rating of AAA and is a three notch upgrade from the county's previous rating and the bond sale interest rate is a direct relation, Kimmel said.
He pointed to the county's large tax base, its financial management and fund balances that point to the county's stability in uncertain economic times along with the county's moderate debt burden.
In other business, the board:
Heard District Court Judge Jon Maturi found the county in contempt for not abiding by Judge Kristine DeMay's order after the county failed to pay fees for attorneys appointed in juvenile protection matters. The board authorized County Attorney Don Ryan to appeal Maturi's decision.
Requested federal high priority project funding for County Highway 36 reconstruction.
Approved four rezoning requests for Potlatch Forest Products Corp. to rezone from green space to agriculture for four different areas - about 168 acres in Unorganized Territory north of Pine Beach Road, 120 acres in Lake Edward Township south of Acorn Drive and about 500 acres in Center Township, south of Sorenson Lake Road and 80 acres in Lake Edward Township north of County Highway 18.
A letter from Crow Wing Soil & Water Conservation District noted with the amount of wetlands on the properties or proximity to water, a wetland delineation should be completed before any subdivision is completed.
Approved an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation for a countywide intersection lighting project. The county was awarded $138,600 for the project for 11 intersections.
Recognized employees with Corrections Officers Week on May 3-9 and April 12-18 as National Public Safety Telecommunications Week.
Planned to participate in Severe Weather Awareness Week April 20-24 with a statewide tornado drill day on April 23 with two drills - one at 1:45 p.m. and a second voluntary drill at 6:55 p.m. to allow families to plan at home and businesses to plan with night employees.
Praised the highway department and Anderson Brothers for receiving the 2008 MnDOT Award for Best Urban County State Aid Highway Project for the Mill Avenue reconstruction project. The $2.6 million project was completed well ahead of schedule and was just $16,000 over budget, which Robjent said was incredible on a project of this scope.
Approved the application for a grant as part of the economic recovery dollars to retain or hire law enforcement staff. A grant of $420,000 would pay for two officers for three years although the county would have to cover overtime costs and is expected to pay those officers a fourth year, which is expected to mean a cost of about $105,000.
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.
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