SF School District refinances bonds, lowers interest rate

Published Jun 20, 2013 at 10:53 am (Updated Jun 20, 2013 at 10:53 am)

By refinancing a series of 2003 bonds, the South Fayette School District locked in an interest rate of about 2.98 percent and will save about $173,000 in the 2013-14 fiscal year. The board voted 6-0 to refinance the bonds at its June 18 workshop meeting. Board members Alexander Bill Newcomer and Alan Vezzi were absent.

“This is not going to extend the debt at all,” Jamie Doyle of Public Finance Management told the board at the meeting. She said by refinancing, the district is replacing old higher interest rates with today’s lower ones. She also told the board that the district has maintained its A1 credit rating.

Doyle said the new call date for the bonds is October 1, 2018, which is the next time the board can refinance.

Anthony Ditka, the district’s bond council, told the board that the bonds are scheduled to close at the end of July.

Intermediate School update

Joe Brennan of P.J. Dick presented change orders for the new intermediate school to the board at the June 18 meeting. Total change orders presented at the meeting amounted to more than $36,000.

One change order is an owner-requested item to add geotextile and stone along the south road and fence. Brennan said the district requested the change for maintenance purposes so mowing would not have to be done in that area. The cost of that is about $4,000.

Another item is to modify the handrail and posts in the clearstory area of the building so that the posts are 51 inches high. The cost of that is about $1,500. Also, adding mini-blinds throughout the building on interior windows comes in at a cost of $3,800.

Another change order is for about $5,000 to relocate a sanitary line due to a breach in a wetland. Brennan said the area below the wetland had to be cleared and grubbed, as did a new section of wooded area. An eight-inch sanitary line and two manhole structures also had to be installed.

Board member Leonard Fornella asked Brennan if the project is still on time. The building is to be substantially complete by July 22. Brennan said the project is on time, but it’s “extremely tight at this point.” He added that it’s no different than any other project at “crunch time.”

Brennan said furniture was to start coming in on June 19 and final cleaning is already being done in some sections of the building. Fornella said that July 22 is a “hard deadline.” He said there will be penalty provisions for every day if that deadline is not met.

The board is scheduled to tour the building on June 25.

Budget update

Brian Tony, district director of finance, and district accountant Maria Brewer-Aguilar presented updated budget numbers at the June 18 meeting.

Tony presented three options for the board to consider for its June 25 budget vote. Last month, the board approved a proposed final budget with a millage rate, going to the two percent index, of 24.4432 mills.

The numbers are now adjusted to reflect updated reassessment numbers from the county. Tony said the revenue neutral millage rate would be 23.9041. If the board decides to go to the two percent index, which would add 0.5019, the rate would be 24.4033. If the board goes to the two percent index and also takes the exception for PSERS (Public School Employees Retirement System) at 0.3093, the rate would be 24.7126.

The rates are adjusted due to the county-wide reassessment. The 2012-13 millage rate is 28.8241. Brewer-Aguilar said all of the numbers are “still far below our last year’s millage rate.”

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