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Project refinancing by JPTAC members saves taxpayers $39.7 million over 5 years

East Metro taxpayers have saved nearly $40 million on capital projects over the last five years due to favorable refinancing, the Joint Powers Tax Advisory Committee (JPTAC) announced at its regular meeting this week.

The Joint Powers Tax Advisory Committee consists of elected and appointed officials from the City of Saint Paul, Ramsey County and Saint Paul Independent School District 625. The main purpose of JPTAC is to coordinate actions on budgets and taxation that jointly affect the residents and taxpayers in the City of Saint Paul who are served and taxed by the three units of local government.

“$40 million is a lot of savings,” said Saint Paul City Council President and JPTAC representative Amy Brendmoen. “Well-timed bond refinancing isn’t a particularly headline-grabbing topic, but these behind-the-scenes actions are representative of the everyday commitment to fiscal stewardship that our three JPTAC members share and reinforce with one another.”

Most large municipal public infrastructure projects are funded by the sale of bonds. Refinancing existing bonds at lower rates reduces interest costs tied to projects.

The City of Saint Paul and the Saint Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority have refinanced bonds 16 times over the past five years totaling $17.4 million in savings on interest payments. The refinancing allows greater investments in capital projects, including the North End Community Center and improvements at McMurray Athletic Fields.

“The less we pay in interest, the more we can invest in providing needed facilities and programming that directly benefit our students,” said Jim Vue, Vice Chair Saint Paul School Board. “This is where we want to be investing our dollars and smart refinancing has supported that to the tune of millions of dollars.”

Saint Paul Public Schools have reduced interest payments by $11.5 million, refinancing five times since 2015. These actions have reduced the overall price tag on projects and allowed the district to make large capital investments in many schools including Como Senior High School and Adams, Highland, Horace Mann and Saint Anthony Park elementary schools.

“Stretching every dollar for taxpayers across Ramsey County is foundational to our Vision, Mission and Goals – especially the goal of Accountability,” said Victoria Reinhardt, Ramsey County’s Budget Committee Chair and JPTAC representative. “Our regional library system – available to everyone across the East Metro – is an excellent example of how our ability to stretch every dollar benefits Saint Paul and Ramsey County families.”

Ramsey County has saved $10.8 million through refinancing of 12 bond issues across five years. These savings allowed Ramsey County to invest in additional projects, including at Ramsey County Library - Shoreview.

All three JPTAC members maintain excellent credit ratings with bond rating agencies. This provides the JPTAC members and their taxpayers the benefit of borrowing at the lowest interest rates available when bonding for capital projects.

Posted on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 - 2:08 p.m.