Development Authority meeting

Walker County Development Authority on Tuesday, June 11, approved a resolution to refinance $14.7 million in bonds.

A proposal to refinance a series of revenue bonds could result in more than $2 million in savings to Walker County taxpayers.

The Walker County Development Authority (WCDA) issued the Series 2015 bonds on behalf of Walker County government, in order to fund the completion of infrastructure and dirt work at the Walker County Industrial Park.

Four years ago, WCDA issued the bonds contingent on the county being financially obligated for all fees, interest and payments. WCDA also made obtaining more than $17.5 million in Series 2015 bonds contingent upon receiving a rate not to exceed 7.5%. This year, based on Walker County’s improved financial conditions, WCDA proposes to refinance the remaining balance of the bonds contingent upon receiving a rate not to exceed 4.9%.

As part of the refinancing process, Walker County expects to receive an upgraded credit rating, due to the same improvements in the county’s balance sheet and financial outlook that would allow the lower interest rate cap.

“One of the top priorities of my administration has been to get our financial house in order,” Commissioner Shannon Whitfield said. “Restoring Walker County’s credit rating makes lower rates like this possible for existing debt. The latest audit shows our balance sheet in a much stronger position than in 2015. This allows us to turn yet another page in our shared journey together toward freedom from crippling county debt. We are thrilled this will save the taxpayers of Walker County millions of dollars.”

WCDA approved the bond resolution at its meeting on Tuesday, June 11. Whitfield will review the proposal at his meeting on Thursday, June 13. Once the bonding agency has received final interest rate terms, both government entities will make a decision on whether to move forward with the refinancing proposal.