In a move expected to shave $9.2 million off interest payments, the Bellevue City Council on Feb. 6 approved the early refunding of bonds issued for the remodeling of City Hall. Just as homeowners save money by refinancing their mortgages when interest rates drop, so can the city by refunding the municipal bonds issued for City Hall, completed in February 2006.
In 2004 the city issued $103 million worth of 40-year bonds to transform the fortress-like former Qwest Communications office building downtown into an award-winning civic center.
By refunding the bonds early, the city will see its average interest rate drop from 5.2 percent to 3.6 percent. Even with millions in refunding costs factored in, the city stands to save $15 million in interest payments over the remaining 30 years of the bonds. With projected inflation, the savings is calculated at $9.2 million in today’s dollars.
To ensure refunding the bonds when the interest rate is at its lowest, the council designated Finance Director Jan Hawn to act on its behalf, probably in March.