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Lower bond costs bring Minneapolis $15 million windfall

REUTERS/Pilar Olivares
A shuffling of bond payments will save Minneapolis taxpayers millions of dollars.

Minneapolis taxpayers saved nearly $15 million in recent days when the city sold $91.4 million in bonds.

The savings will be realized in new bonds — sold at a lower interest rate than previous bonds, with the proceeds used to buy back the more expensive bonds with cheaper ones.

“It’s a bunch of good news,” said Council Member Betsy Hodges, who chairs the Ways and Means/Budget Committee.

“The bonds were heavily sought after by investors,” said Michael Abeln, director of capital and debt management for Minneapolis. “It was all very positive.”

Here’s how the savings add up.

One group of general obligations bonds was offered for $37.5 million. Of that total, $31.4 million will be used for capital projects, with $6.1 million used to buy back previously sold higher-interest bonds. The total savings on transaction will total $907,171.

“Thank you very much for taking advantage of the situation,” said Council Member Sandy Colvin Roy, adding that she “appreciates the skill and attentiveness” of city staff involved in the bond sale.

“I can’t take the credit, the market did this,” responded Abeln, adding a “good for us.”

Minneapolis retained its AAA rating from all three rating services last week when it sold four series of bonds.  The sale attracted 22 bidders, which Abeln said is “pretty typical.”

Interest rates on the bonds ranged from a low of 0.58 percent to a high of 2.36 percent.  The bonds mature in 2024, 2025 and 2026.

In addition to the $37.5 million sale, the city sold $28.8 million in general obligation library referendum refunding bonds at 1.98 percent, producing savings of $6.9 million.

The third large-group sale totaled $22.06 million in general obligation parking assessment refunding bonds at 2.16 percent, resulting in savings of $5.9 million.

The final group was a small sale of $3 million of general obligation tax increment refunding bonds at 2.36 percent, bringing savings of $1.16 million.

Football fees

Those police officers and Public Works employees you see on Game Day at the Dome will be paid by the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission.

The city is billing the commission $85,000 for the Public Works staff and $120,000 for police services during the 2012 football season. This is the sixth year the city has charged the commission for exterior services at the Dome.

And this year the bill for services has increased. In previous years, the commission has been billed for salary and fringe benefits only. This year, the Police Department is adding charges for vehicles, dogs and a pre-game planning meeting.

Season’s warnings

The city is about to remind its citizens that winter is coming with a November utility bill enclosure outlining the rules for snow-emergency parking and for snow removal from sidewalks and the areas around garbage and recycling containers.

Thank you, Minneapolis.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 10/02/2012 - 01:38 pm.

    Hail! city bureaucrats.

    As someone who knows that “government” is frequently composed of staff people who toil away at their desks, doing their jobs diligently, I love occasions where it is obviously those bureaucrats, those staff people, who are doing fine things for the city and its taxpayers. This is one of them. What great news!

    Ms. Boros and MinnPost: thanks for this minutiae!

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