TAVARES — Lake County recently completed the third and final phase of a series of refinancing deals that allowed the county to lower its debt service and save taxpayer money.
With a strong demand for bonds from investors, and offers from Raymond James and Citigroup to underwrite unsold balances, the county achieved $2.29 million in net present value debt service savings, or 4.8 percent of refunded bonds par through the issuance of its Capital Improvement Revenue Refunding Bonds, Series 2015B.
“Thanks to the county’s efforts to decrease our debt through smart fiscal planning, Lake County has created a more secure financial future for our citizens,” said Chairman Jimmy Conner.
In June, the Lake County Board of County Commissioners signed the first part of its paperwork to refinance its bond debt, which resulted in an estimated savings of $4 million to the county over the next 10 years. The first and second phase included a $20.95 million Direct Placement Bank Loan with Citizens First Bank of Leesburg, a locally-owned and operated financial institution. This bank loan refunded the outstanding Limited General Obligation Bonds that were issued in 2007 and generated net present value debt service savings of $1.75 million or 9.01 percent of the refunded bonds par amount. The county simultaneously closed on a $25.8 million Capital Improvement Revenue Refunding Bond, Series 2015A with Jacksonville-based Regions Bank, which resulted in net present value savings of nearly $2.2 million, or 9.2 percent of the refunded bonds par amount. In total, the county achieved over $6.2 million of net present value debt service savings by proactively taking advantage of the favorable market conditions.
As part of the refinancing plan, Lake County announced in July it received positive reports from two nationally recognized statistical ratings organizations. Moody's Investors Service assigned an Aa3 rating to Lake County's Capital Improvement Refunding Revenue Bonds, Series 2015B. Fitch Ratings assigned an AA- rating to Lake County’s Capital Improvement Bonds and revised its outlook from negative to stable.