WilCo votes to pay off $10 million in debt

Williamson County Commissioners opted to pay down $10 million in debt Jan. 26 and refinance current debt that could save the county more than $11 million in future interest payments.

The commissioners voted to pay down $10 million from a bond issued in 2006. The money was allocated to pay off debt in this year’s budget. The move will save the county close to $5 million in future interest payments, said Dan Wegmiller, a financial adviser contracted by the county.

The county also voted to refinance $75 million in existing debt by resetting the interest rate down to 2.34 percent. The move likely would save $3.7 million, Wegmiller said.

“As you’ve done for many years, these items are addressing savings that are a result of paying down debt and refinancing debt down to lower interest rates,” he told the court. “Just those two items combined estimate $8.74 million in savings.”

Since the federal government raised interest rates in December, Wegmiller said they expected to see higher rates, although rates have dropped since the end of the year. That will allow the county to refinance more existing debt, he said. At a future meeting the county could refinance another $36.4 million of existing debt, which has a current rate of 4.6 percent, down to 2.5 percent, and could save another $2.53 million.

“The items on today’s agenda would result in just over $11.2 million in debt service reduction for paying off of that debt service,” Wegmiller said.

County Judge Dan Gattis he was appreciative of the elected officials, department heads, and financial teams that continuously work on the budget.

“It’s not every county that can sit here and say we just saved $8 million or $11 million today,” he said.


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