Central Point taxpayers benefit

Refinancing of construction bond will create a modest reduction in tax bill

Central Point property owners will get a modest break in their tax bills, thanks to a bond refinancing by the Central Point School District, officials say.

The district's original $29 million bond, approved in 2000, funded the construction of the new Central Point Elementary School, paid for the remodel of the original 1908 brick schoolhouse into district offices, and building a performing arts center at Central Point High School. It also went toward construction of new wing at Hanby Middle School and repairs at Mae Richardson Elementary School, said Spencer Davenport, the district's financial services manager.

As interest rates plummeted, district officials in 2004 refinanced the bond for the first time. The lower interest rates saved taxpayers about $1.3 million over the remaining course of the bond debt, which expires in 2020, Davenport said.

"We are always looking for the best deal for the taxpayer," he said.

But interest rates have continued to decline, so the district again decided to refinance the interest rates, which will create a further savings of $1.4 million, he said.

"We locked in the new lower interest rate," Davenport said. "Over the life of the bond, this will create a savings of $2.7 million."

The impact of the refinance will help taxpayers by lowering property taxes over the next seven years, reducing the bond rate by 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed value each year from 2013 to 2019, he said.

"For an owner of a $150,000 home, this will mean about a $15 a year reduction in their property tax bill each year," Davenport said.

Matt Donahue, public finance banker at D.A. Davidson & Co., which assisted on the deal, agreed the district has been vigilant in making sure its taxpayers are not paying more than necessary.

Recouping the price of a pizza may not seem like much. But it's something, and shows the district is diligent in its efforts to provide "as much bang for its buck as possible," Davenport said.

"In the grand scheme of things it's not a huge amount of savings," he said. "But I would much rather see all our taxpayers have lower rates than pay bond holders higher interest."

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or email sspecht@mailtribune.com.

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