Bond re-funding progress

Bellevue Council will consider adoption of an ordinance this month that would authorize re-funding the borough’s bond issue, and produce savings that would help pay for the long-awaited repair of the West Riverview Avenue retaining wall.

Council had been approached in January by Alisha Reesh, managing director of the financial services firm Janney Montgomery Scott, who projecting savings of between $120,000 and $123,000, depending upon how the borough chose to take the proceeds of re-issuing the 2011 bonds at today’s lower interest rates. The bonds have been re-funded several times since $10 million in bonds were originally issued in 2002. The borough currently owes $5.3 million.

Reesh returned to meet with Bellevue Council at its regular meeting Tuesday, along with bond counsel Anthony Ditka of Dinsman & Shore. She said that at current interest rates, Bellevue’s savings at the time of closing on the new bonds had grown from the original estimate of $119,934 to $128,000. Because this would be considered new debt, she previously told council, the funds would have to be spent on capital improvement projects. Should Bellevue choose to use the savings to reduce its upcoming bond repayment, the money budgeted for the payment could be spent for any purpose, and the savings likely would be slightly higher.

The re-funding savings are informally earmarked for the West Riverview Avenue retaining wall repair. The wall collapsed three years ago, and a section of the road has been closed to traffic ever since. The borough has unsuccessfully sought grant funds for the project, and meanwhile has put money into a capital improvement fund that could be used to pay for the work. Although originally estimated to cost about $300,000, the repairs are now expected to cost upwards of $500,000.

Council voted unanimously to introduce and advertise an ordinance authorizing the re-funding, for adoption at the pre-council meeting on March 14. Council member Linda Woshner was absent from the meeting.