H-F Parks saves $1.21 million by refinancing long-term debt

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H-F Parks saves $1.21 million by refinancing long-term debt

November 21, 2021 - 10:09
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The Homewood-Flossmoor Park District will save $1.21 million by refinancing short- and long-term debt.

Aaron Gold of Speer Financial, Inc. told park commissioners at the Nov. 16 board meeting that the district’s bonds were sold the week of Nov. 8.

“It was a very successful financing with low rates,” he said. The district also saved $71,548 in debt service fees. “That’s how low interest rates are right now.”

The one-year issue for $1.03 million was refinanced at an interest rate of 1.167%. He said the rate is four points lower than the 2021 issue. It will be included in the bond fund in the park’s annual levy.

The long-term debt of $9,668,832 was from two previous bond sales in 2011 and 2013. The district worked with Gold to restructure the debt for refinancing. The new refinancing bond sold with a 2.42% interest rate for a savings of $1,213,368. Gold described the savings as equal to 12.7% of the refunded principle amount.

The long-term debt was scheduled to expire in 2032, but the refinancing pushed that back to 2041. By extending the final payment, the district was able to capture the ability to increase its debt ceiling which could help cover costs of future improvements. Gold said it also means $6.2 million less in payments over the life of the bond.

Gold credited the park district staff for their work in compiling a 70-page information packet for bidders. He said the underwriter complemented the park district for its financials.

“Without that positive outlook on where the district is trending, the bonds wouldn’t have sold as well,” Gold said.

In other business, the board agreed to make changes as work progresses at Homewood Estates Park, 18200 California Ave. in Homewood.

Several changes will help improve drainage in and around the park. The village requested that a culvert at the southwest corner be enlarged from 8- to 12-inches and the six drain grates throughout the park be enlarged from 4- to 8-inches.

Doug Boehm, superintendent of parks and planning, said the park generally floods and this should alleviate the excess water and get it to flow into the village drainage system. The construction crew will also install an additional culvert under the path between the ballfield and the rain garden to help move the water under the path to outlets near the street, Boehm explained.

Additional work also will include improvements to the drainage connection at the northwest corner of the park to tie into the village’s new drainage system, Boehm said.

The board also agreed to adjust a path that leads out to Olive Road. Boehm said it’s “like a straight shot and encourages people to drive that path.” The path will be realigned, so cars cannot continue down the street directly into the park.

Crews found insufficient support under the asphalt path near the playground. It will be replaced with a stone base.

The unexpected changes will cost an additional $26,992. The total project is now $94,499 under budget.

Park district staff has prepared the playground site for the installation of new play equipment in the park.