Refinancing city bonds could save almost $700,000

Refinancing about $9 million in bonds used to pay for the Jackson Street parking garage could save the city nearly $700,000.

Seymour-based Reedy Financial Group representatives presented the refinancing option to newly appointed Columbus Redevelopment Commission members Sarah Cannon, John Dorenbusch, Umar Farooq and Don Trapp at their first meeting of the year Monday night.

In 2007, the city issued $10 million in bonds to build the Jackson Street parking garage at the corner of Fourth and Fifth streets. Half of the bonds were taxable and half were tax-exempt, said Bruce Donaldson, with Indianapolis-based Barnes & Thornburg law firm.

The tax-exempt bonds are scheduled to mature in July 2017 and the taxable bonds in January 2018, with the funds coming out of the city’s central tax increment financing district, said Andrew Lanam with Reedy Financial.

The refinancing option would allow the city to take advantage of lower interest rates and save about $684,000 over the life of the bonds, Lanam said.

The commission unanimously approved recommending that the city council consider refinancing the bonds. The redevelopment commission could vote to approve the plan at its Feb. 15 meeting, with the council taking action the next day. Lanam presented a timeline that would close on the refinancing March 23.

The commissioners also voted to make final payments on promissory notes to the Cummins Foundation and Heritage Fund — Community Foundation of Bartholomew County to fund the construction of the Indiana Center for Art + Design.

The redevelopment commission borrowed money from the two foundations in 2011 to pay for the center under the agreement that the commission would pay them back with four $125,000 annual payments.

The commission approved the final payments on both promissory notes.

Mayor Jim Lienhoop swore in all four commissioners at Monday’s meeting. Cannon, a vice president at First Financial Bank, was elected the commission’s president. Dorenbusch was elected commission vice president, and Donald Trapp was elected secretary.

Lienhoop said he is working on selecting a fifth commissioner to fill out the redevelopment commission.

About the new redevelopment commission

Sarah Cannon has lived in Columbus for nearly 25 years and has previously served on various city boards and commissions, including the Columbus Redevelopment Commission, the Columbus Area Arts Council, the United Way of Bartholomew County board and the Family Service Inc. board. She is a vice president at First Financial Bank in Columbus.

John Dorenbusch is the retired president of Irwin Management Co. and Tipton Lakes Co. His city involvement includes stints on the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce board, the Heritage Fund — Community Foundation of Bartholomew County board, the United Way board, the Columbus Regional Hospital Board and the Bartholomew Consolidated School Foundation. He has lived in Columbus for 53 years.

Donald Trapp has served with the Community Education Coalition, the Columbus Regional Hospital Board, the United Way Board, the Columbus Economic Development Corp. and Big Brothers Big Sisters. He worked for Cummins Inc. before retiring.

Umar Farooq moved to Columbus in 2009 to become a vice president at SIHO Insurance Services. He has served with the arts council, the chamber board and the Heritage Fund — Community Foundation of Bartholomew County.

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Olivia Covington is a reporter for The Republic. She can be reached at ocovington@therepublic.com or 812-379-5712.