|| The Forest Preserve District of Will County's “Board of Commissioners” voted Tuesday, April 12, to approve a $17 million bond refunding measure that will save the District approximately $1.5 million in debt service costs.
The general obligation bonds were issued in 2008 and have an average interest rate of 5 percent. The new refunded bonds will have an estimated interest cost of 2.18 percent. The savings from the refunding will be used to pay the District’s portion of the cost associated with an Early Retirement Incentive (ERI) approved by the Board in October 2014.
It is anticipated the ERI will realize a net savings of more than $2 million in salaries and benefits over the next five years, according to John Gerl, the District’s chief financial officer. Currently, 13 employees, or approximately 10 percent of the District’s staff, have participated in the ERI program, which began on July 1, 2015, and ends on June 30, 2016.
The Board is also considering using its cash reserves for a capital improvement program, while still leaving a sufficient amount of money in reserves for future unanticipated emergencies.
“Savings from the bond refunding and ERI program will allow the District to use cash reserves for capital projects that will maintain and enhance the preserves,” said Board President Suzanne Hart of Naperville. “I’m very proud of the fact the District continues to deliver quality services to our residents in a very cost efficient manner.”
Finance Committee Chairman Ray Tuminello of New Lenox highlighted the fact that the District will not have to borrow money to accomplish the proposed capital projects.
“The Forest Preserve District is finding ways to use existing funds to get work done, which is a fiscally responsible strategy that I fully endorse,” he said.