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Douglas County Saves Millions through Strategic Refinance

Posted: 10/15/2019

Category: County Board

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Douglas County will be saving more than 2 million dollars in interest on two existing bond projects. Tuesday, October 15, county commissioners approved the refinancing of bonds for the Pope/Douglas Solid Waste Facility and the Law Enforcement Center.

The savings on the solid waste facility will be $1.48 million over the life of the bond after expenses. Savings on the law enforcement center will be $835,000 after expenses over the life of the bond.

“These savings are significant,” said County Board Chair Charlie Meyer. “We know taxpayers appreciate when we explore opportunities to save them money.”

The board approved the sale of $10.4 million of General Obligation Solid Waste Revenue Refunding Bonds, Series 2019A. The bonds were initially issued to refinance the county’s share of the cost of improvements to the solid waste facility at 2115 Jefferson Street in Alexandria.

The board also approved the sale of $5.58 million of General Obligation Law Enforcement Center Refunding Bonds, Series 2019B. These bonds were originally issued to finance the construction of a new law enforcement center in Douglas county.

Auditor Treasurer Char Rosenow worked with Todd Hagen, Senior Municipal Advisor at Ehlers & Associates to make this happen for the taxpayers of Douglas County.

“This process is similar to refinancing a home mortgage at a lower interest rate,” said Auditor Treasurer Char Rosenow. “We strategically monitored the markets to determine the best time to sell and completed the transactions today.”

In other board news, Sheriff Troy Wolbersen shared with the commissioners how his fraud prevention investigator is also saving the county money. A grant pays for the position which investigates reports of residents fraudulently obtaining assistance from various social service programs. The goal is to save three dollars for every one dollar in grant funding. The Douglas County region exceeded that goal with a cost-to-benefit ratio of four dollars.

Commissioners also conducted a public hearing. Residents from Belle River Township packed the Douglas County board room to testify on whether a township road is impassable. County Attorney Chad Larson shared the legal definition of an impassable road, then the board heard from township board members and the public.

The issue came to the Douglas County Board of Commissioners after a married couple, hoping to move a house down Toddler Lane and onto their property, could not resolve differences with the township board. The couple believes the road is impassable and requested a row of pine trees be removed because they believed they were in the right of way. After hearing testimony and reviewing the various applicable statutes, the board voted the road does not meet the definition of an impassable road and did not require the township board to make any additional improvements.

In other actions, the board approved: repairing the county’s public works garage in Kensington, purchasing a new postage machine and abating property taxes for a family who lost their home in a fire.

The board also approved an indoor storage rental business in Carlos Township with conditions, approved a dog grooming business in Ida Township with conditions and approved an existing unregistered feedlot to expand to up to 199 animal units. That approval impacted a nearby landowner who is planning to develop several lots near the farm.  The commissioners approved his development plans with a condition he include a Right-to Farm notification when selling the lots and that property buyers acknowledge and sign them.

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