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County bond sale yields 1.93-percent interest rate with four bidders at sale

Mavis Fodness

Interest rates were higher than anticipated Jan. 24 when Rock County’s $4.5 million general obligation bond went to market, but the refinancing still saved taxpayer dollars.
Four companies placed bids, and at their Jan. 25 meeting commissioners accepted the lowest bid, 1.93 percent from Piper, Sandler & Co. of Minneapolis.
Four companies vied for the $4.5 million in bonds, offering rates from 1.93 percent to 2.06 percent for the 20-year bond.
George Eilertson with Northland Securities brokered the sale and brought the sale results to the county commissioners Jan. 25.
He indicated Rock County was favorably noticed by creditors due to its AA+ bond rating through S&P Global Ratings. Rock County is one step below the highest municipal rating of AAA.
“You are unique at AA+,” Eilertson said. “The majority of the (Minnesota’s 87) counties fall one notch lower with AA or one notch further, which is AA-. Fifty to 60 counties are within those two (ranges).”
Part of the Jan. 24 bond sale involved refinancing two 2015 general obligation bonds totaling $915,000.
These bonds were used to remodel the Rock County Library and finance the county’s portion of the countywide fiber-to-premises broadband network project.
Refinancing this debt at the lower rate will save $106,061.
The rest of the bond, $3.59 million, will be used for capital improvements in the courthouse and the health and human services building, primarily for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems.
Eilertson anticipated average interest rates to be between 1.62 and 1.75 percent, when calling for the sale in November.
At 1.93 percent, the interest rate is still at 20-year lows, he said.
In other business, the commissioners:
•met with three new county employees: Haley Boltjes, Land Records Office administrative assistant, Lee Tapper, Land Management Office engineering technician, and Brett Heikes, county highway department equipment operator.
The county has one opening, an engineering assistant, that is expected to be filled this spring.
•set a Feb. 22 meeting with township and small cities leaders to discuss how the $1.8 million in American Rescue Plan Act dollars to the county can be disbursed.

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