County to wait before next chess move

Sherburne County commissioners and county staff kept a discussion of bond refunding options short at a monthly work session held Feb. 8.

Commissioners noted that lawmakers in St. Paul have discussed a reinstatement of county levy limits, and the board generally agreed to table bond refunding talk until after the Legislature’s 2012 session ends. County Board Chair Larry Farber suggested a return to the topic in May or June. “We’ll have a lot of answers, and we’ll know what the state has done,” Farber said.

“We hope they’re done,” County Administrator Brian Bensen added with a nod to last year’s shutdown.

Owing about $2.47 million on outstanding bonds that were issued in 2004 for future jail and sheriff’s office expansion, the county could save an estimated $128,240 over five years with a reissuance.

Commissioner Rachel Leonard said at a January meeting that she would prefer the county pay off the $2.47 million this year out of an available $12.29 million in land and building reserves. “To me, that’s a more transparent goal,” she said this week. “I don’t want it (this issue) lost in the shuffle.”

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