The Warren County Public Safety building, in use since 2003, is about to be refinanced. A lower interest rate on the remaining balance of the $23 million original construction costs will likely save county taxpayers $400,000 to $670,000 over the next decade, county officials have estimated.
Warren County residents are likely to reap savings of $400,000 to $600,000 through the pending refinancing of the county public safety building.
The Warren County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Feb. 17 to take steps toward refinancing the building, which houses the county jail, the county sheriff's offices and regional dispatch headquarters.
New Warren County Treasurer Michael Swan noted that interest rates have dropped substantially since the $23 million construction project was originally financed in 2003. Refinancing at lower prevailing rates would save taxpayers $40,000 to $60,000 per year over the next decade through lowered bond payments, he said.
Bond interest rates, he said, fluctuate daily, so the amount of savings couldn't be pinpointed in advance of securing the deal. He said that calculating the potential net savings at municipal bond interest rates prevailing several weeks ago, the county would have saved $670,000 in a refinance deal, after paying $16,000 or so in bond counsel fees and another modest amount for advice from a financial consultant.
“Let's strike while the iron's hot,” he said, urging the supervisors to take advantage of interest rates before they might increase. “Let's do this quickly.”
Swan noted that the refinancing idea had emerged from talk circulating during the recent New York State Association of Counties convention in Albany.
County Administrator Paul Dusek warned the supervisors that there was no guarantee of savings, because a drastic change in prevailing interest rates could occur while arranging for the refinancing, a process that could take until March 20 or so. If interest rates jump within the next 30 days, the county could ditch the refinancing effort, Dusek said, just before putting the bond out for bid.
“We're not going to do a negative deal,” he said.
In other business, the county board:
• Approved a law granting Warren County planners the authority to review planning and zoning issues referred to them by local towns – effectively taking place of the county planning board, which was recently disbanded.
• Authorized the sale of two parcels of land known as the old Glens Falls-Lake George Road to adjoining property owner Daniel Ellsworth at the price of $2,100.
• Approved the use of the county airport this year for two hot-air balloon fests – the Adirondack Balloon Festival in September and the Sunkiss Balloon Festival in July.
• Passed a resolution seeking a Home Rule request from the state legislature to enable formation of a railway authority for the county in conjunction with the town of Corinth. The county's legal advisors say a railway authority would streamline the cumbersome decision-making process involved in overseeing the revitalized rail operations through the county, while limiting taxpayers' liability exposure.
• Voted to move the Warrensburg senior mealsite from the First United Methodist Church parish hall to the Countryside Adult Home as soon as the state Dept. of Health approves Countryside as a new site.
• Approved spending $15,000 on infrastructure needs of the Big Apple Circus for their two-week series of shows at Charles Wood Park in Lake George, where the renowned circus' “big-top” tent will be erected.
• Authorized the changeover of the westbound lane of West Brook Road to be converted into a parking lot and to change the configuration of entrances and exits.
• Decided to allow United Health Care and Fidelis Care to review and assist with Medicaid Managed Care applications at the county Municipal Center, with a goal of reducing the Medicaid costs that the county taxpayers shoulder.
• Expanded the authority of the county Tourism Director to execute agreements and spend money with various contractors and vendors – increasing the expenditure limit without county board approval up to $2,000.
• Voted to establish an “Alive at 25” driver safety program for county residents ages 16 to 25.
• Appointed Robert Wubbenhorst of Bolton, Robert Fedor of Chestertown and Calista Murray of Warrensburg to the Warren-Hamilton Counties' Office for the Aging Advisory Council.