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Park district takes advantage of low rates to refund $10.6M debt

The Homewood-Flossmoor Park District is taking advantage of the market and refunding two general obligation bonds totaling $10.6 million for lower interest rates. 

The move should save the park district approximately $1.28 million in interest. The switch also will give the park district the ability to take on extra borrowing in the future, if needed.

At the Tuesday, Aug. 17, board meeting, park commissioners took the first step approving an ordinance to refund the $495,000 principal on a bond issued in 2011. It replaced a bond from 2003 that was used for improvements at Cherry Hill Golf Club, now Coyote Run Golf Course. The park board also agreed to refund the $8.9 million principal from 2013 that refunded bonds initially issued in 2006. The money was used for the golf course and to construct the H-F Sports Complex at James Hart School.

The bonds have interest rates of between 4% and 5%. Municipal bond advisor Aaron Gold of Speer Financial, Inc., reported at the park board’s Aug. 3 meeting that the rate isn’t known because the bonds won’t be back on the market until December, but the new rate is likely to be in the 2.5% to 3% range.


Gold said the board’s action to refund the bond is “still achieving savings because we’re in the low interest rate environment, but (you’re) creating the ability for the district to move forward with additional bond issues” in the future. 

Commissioners had several options, including simply refunding at a lower interest rate, but unanimously chose a 20-year, long-term option to provide the district with flexibility for future projects.

In other business, the board agreed to raise fees at Irons Oaks. Some of the fees hadn’t been raised in several years, according to Cheryl Vargo, Irons Oaks manager.

The board agreed to continue its employee health insurance with Blue Cross/Blue Shield with a 14% increase in rates. Employees pay 5% of the cost. The board budgeted for a 20% increase.

The crew at Coyote Run Golf Course will get two 2017 John Deere riding hydraulic mowers for $37,000. The board agreed to purchase the used machines as supplements to the current 2004 units that were purchased when the golf course first opened. 

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