City hires firm to help with Commons bond refinancing

Columbus has hired an Indianapolis-based accounting firm to refinance a bond used to pay for building The Commons.

The Columbus Board of Works approved a contract Tuesday with Crowe Horwath, a public accounting, consulting and technology firm, for up to $40,000 to refinance the bond, which is scheduled to be paid off in 2028.

Randy Ruhl, senior vice president of public finance with Hilliard Lyons, told the Columbus City Council earlier this month that when the original $9 million in general obligation bonds were issued, they came with a 4.75 percent interest rate.

The city could save $55,000 a year, or more than $550,000, by refinancing at a 2 percent interest rate, Ruhl said. The city has no plans to refinance any of the other three bonds it currently has, said Jamie Brinegar, city finance director.

The city plans to pay off one of its bonds for the Columbus parks that was issued in 2005 by the end of December or in January, Brinegar said. Once the refinancing of The Commons bond is completed, the lower interest rate wouldn’t take effect until 2019, he said.