BROOKSVILLE — Hernando commissioners unanimously passed a resolution allowing the buyout of old water and sewer revenue bonds with new bonds at a lower interest rate, which will save ratepayers millions, according to Director of Financial Services Amy Gillis.
The move also gives the county the opportunity to refinance water and sewer state revolving fund loans and combine them into one bond transaction, according to an overview prepared by Gillis.
The refinancing saves $2.4 million on the revenue bonds and $1.9 million on state bonds, benefiting residents who pay utility bills such as water and sewer.
Commissioner Steve Champion thanked Gillis for acting responsibly with taxpayers’ money, adding that he loses sleep at night just paying a dime of interest to a credit card company. “I hear of people rolling over credit cards or paying extra interest, it’s your hard-earned money you’re giving away,” Champion said. “The taxpayers expect us to do the right thing. You and your office always do a great job.”
County Attorney Garth Coller added that the financial services office’s resourcefulness has helped taxpayers and ratepayers save a significant amount of money.
He referred to the 2004 purchase of the private Florida Water System through a debt issue, saying without that move, “the water rates would be more than triple what we’re paying today. There’s been a humongous savings to the taxpayers just by us not charging the rates a private company would’ve charged. On top of that, we’ve had very low interest rates, it’s turned out to be very valuable to the taxpayers of Hernando County.”
Gillis called that transaction “a great example of when it’s right to issue debt.”