Following through on a previous proposal, Gwinnett County commissioners have voted to issue new bonds on Coolray Field. Officials cited the projected savings as a reason for their decision,
In November, the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners openly discussed the possibility of taking out new bonds on the ballpark, which is home to the Gwinnett Braves (Class AAA; International League). It was believed at the time that there was potential to secure an interest rate lower than the 6.25% mark on bonds issued in 2008, thus providing a cost savings.
When that discussion took place, it was known that county officials would continue exploring the market until January to determine if a suitable proposal could be found. Ultimately, commissioners have voted to issue new Development Authority bonds to Raymond James and Associates, with the new interest rate coming in at 3.27%.
That wound up exceeding the expectations of some county officials. More from the Gwinnett Daily Post:
“Our current interest rate on the 2008 bonds is approximately 6.25 (percent) and with this new interest rate of 3.27 percent, the county can expect to achieve savings of about $600,000 annually,” Chief Financial Officer Maria Woods said. “Over the life of the remaining term of the bonds, debt service savings is about $14 million.”
The news that county staff got an interest rate of 3.27 percent on the new bonds brought praise from county commissioners who were surprised by the low figure. Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash called it “great results” as she congratulated Woods on the lower interest rate.
“It’s always hard to pick the right time to get the best savings possible,” Nash said. “Sometimes you just have to take as good as you can get and go with it. This is better than what I expected we’d see.”
When county leaders began the process of looking into saving money by issuing new bonds in November, Woods told the Daily Post that she and other officials were hoping to save between $3.6 million and $6.1 million. In the end, they more than doubled that savings.
Coolray Field has been home to the Braves since it opened in 2009.
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