County to discuss paying off bonds

The Sherburne County Board is likely to spend much time at a February work session discussing whether to refund capital improvement bonds that were issued in 2004 for future jail and sheriff’s office expansion.

Board members tabled the matter after some discussion at their regular meeting Jan. 10, when Ehlers senior financial adviser Carolyn Drude presented some options that the board might consider. If Sherburne County chose to refund those bonds that were issued then by the Housing and Redevelopment Authority, the county could realize $128,240 in savings over five years, through 2017.

Sherburne County also has outstanding bonds from 2007 that were issued for a public works maintenance facility in Becker. Ehlers projects that the county could save $623,600 over 11 years if those bonds were refunded with the 2004 law enforcement bonds.

Outstanding debt is a few thousand dollars shy of $2.47 million on the 2004 bonds, and about $8.28 million total on the 2007 bonds.

Commissioners were not unanimous in agreeing to postpone a decision Jan. 10, with Rachel Leonard dissenting and saying then that she saw the best option as paying off the $2.47 million in 2004 bonds this year, calling the amount a “sliver” from $12.29 million in available Land and Building reserves. “In this economy, I think it is a better way to go,” she said of eliminating that bonding debt without refunding. — Paul Rignell, contributing writer