Ocean County Press Release
REFINANCING OF EXISTING DEBT TO SAVE $2.3 MILLION
THE OCEAN COUNTY Board of Chosen Freeholders will refinance up to $35 million in existing debt, resulting in a savings of more than $2.3 million over the next several years.
"This is similar to a homeowner refinancing a mortgage," said Freeholder Deputy Director John C. Bartlett Jr. "We are going to take advantage of the county's AAA bond rating to reduce our interest payments."
The county's AAA rating - the highest available - will allow the Freeholders to reduce the interest rate from 4 and 5 percent to approximately 2.5 percent.
"These are bonds from 2005 and 2006 with some from 2002," Bartlett said. "This is all pre-existing debt. We are not borrowing any new money or extending our debt years."
A similar refinancing in 2011 saved the county about $1 million in the 2012 budget and Bartlett said he expects to see similar savings in 2013 and 2014.
"These are tough times," he said. "We are going to put these savings to good use.
The county will seek competitive bids for the refinancing and go with the lowest available interest rate.
The county's bond rating makes the refinancing an attractive option for investors, Bartlett said. "I expect we should attract a lot of notice," he said. "This is really going to sell itself."
Bartlett said the county's AAA rating is the result of good financial practices by the Board of Freeholders.
"We have done everything in our power to show financial integrity to the rating agencies," he said. "In these difficult economic times this rating cannot be guaranteed in the future."
Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little said the county's ongoing refinancing options show that the Freeholders have tight control of the county's purse strings.
"We've cut positions, trimmed some programs and continue to provide the necessary services to our residents," Little said