Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

County to Save Nearly $500K ; County: Jail's Actions Commended

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

County to Save Nearly $500K ; County: Jail's Actions Commended

Article excerpt

The Shawnee County Commission Monday approved a refinancing arrangement designed to save the county nearly $500,000.

Commissioners Kevin Cook, Shelly Buhler and Bob Archer also OK'd an exchange of transportation funding dollars and heard a report on a situation Friday that involved the Shawnee County Jail.

Commissioners voted 3-0 to approve the issuance of general obligation bonds totaling $5.175 million to receive lower interest rates while refinancing various GO bonds the county issued to finance multiple projects in 2006 and 2007.

The move will save the county $486,669.31, said Bob Perry, the county's bond counsel. The rates the county pays on the new bonds will vary from less than 1 percent to up to 3 percent.

Commissioners also voted 3-0 to authorize public works director Tom Vlach to apply to the Kansas Department of Transportation to exchange Shawnee County's annual allotment of about $1.29 million in federal project funds for state project funds in the amount of about $1.16 million.

Vlach described the arrangement involved to the commission Monday. He said the federal government provides the state a specific amount of transportation funding, and local government entities must put forth matching funding to receive the federal money. But communities at times have been unable to provide matching funding, meaning the federal money they were to receive "just sat there," Vlach said.

He said the state responded by putting in place an arrangement through which local government entities can exchange each $1 in federal funds for 90 cents in state funds, which come with much less restriction in their potential uses and can be applied to all phases of a project.

Vlach said that while Shawnee County can afford to provide the matching funding to receive the federal money, he talked to contractors and concluded the savings in bids that Shawnee County would receive as a result of its using the state money "will far outweigh the 10 cents on the dollar" it costs to exchange the federal money for the state funds.

The county plans to apply a large part, if not all, of the money involved to carry out a project in 2017 to improve Urish Road between S. …

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