Lakeview to refinance old water, sewer debt

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 1:49 pm on Tuesday, February 04, 2014

LAKEVIEW — Officials in the village of Lakeview are looking into the process of refinancing old water and sewer debt dating back to the 1980s.

The village currently owes $1.19 million in debt that was taken out in the late 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s to construct new lift stations, delivery mains and wastewater treatment plant improvements.

Village Manager James Freed recently informed village council members about his new proposal to restructure the old debt. The current debt is bonded with interest rates that vary from 5 percent to 6.25 percent. Freed believes the village could refinance the debt with local banks at an interest rate closer to 3.5 percent to 3.75 percent.

“Several local banks have expressed interest in the project,” Freed said. “This restructuring will not necessarily reduce our annual debt payments, however, it will cut the lifespan of the notes by half and will produce a savings of about $305,000 in interest payments. This is about being good stewards of taxpayer money and ensuring we are making smart businesses decisions.”

Freed said since he was hired as village manager in 2008, Lakeview has reduced its debt load by 30 percent and paid off its Downtown Development Authority bond 10 years early.

“Our goal is simple and that’s to make the village debt-free and to maintain a pay-as-we-go strategy going forward,” Freed said. “If you look at our balanced budget and six-year capital improvement plan, we are truly making our community one of the most financially stable communities in the region.”

Village President Ed Winter said refinancing the old debt will save “quite a bit of money” in the long run.

“We really want to get to a pay as you go system in the future in Lakeview,” Winter said. “It’s a conservative approach to finances, the same as what people should have in their personal lives.”

The village council is expected to review the proposal at Monday night’s regular meeting.

To view copies of Lakeview’s capital improvement plan and budgets, visit online.

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