Westerville City Council approved an ordinance last week aimed at saving the city more than $1-million in debt payments.

Westerville City Council approved an ordinance last week aimed at saving the city more than $1-million in debt payments.

Council vote 6-0, with Councilman Eric Busch absent, to approve an ordinance that provides for the refinancing of $19.695-million of the city's outstanding bonds, according to finance director Jack Winkel.

Under current market conditions, the interest cost on the city's debt would be reduced from 4.72 percent to 3.17 percent, he said.

Over the next 11 years, this will save Westerville about $1.073-million, according to Winkel.

"This is a great savings for Westerville," council chairwoman Diane Fosselman said during the May 19 meeting.

The ordinance give the city authority to reissue bonds not exceeding $21-million in order to refund bonds issued by Westerville that paid for three major projects in the late 1990s.

According to city manager David Collinsworth, the Westerville finance department evaluated the city's debt, looking for ways to roll some of that debt into a lower rate for long-term savings.

Three areas were identified for possible refinancing:

$27.25-million in bonds issued in 1998 to fund the PROS parks and recreation facilities improvements, which provided for construction of the Westerville Community Center, land purchases for that property and other projects.

$4-million approved in 1998 for improving and extending Cleveland Avenue.

$2.2-million approved in 1999 for improvements to Westerville's electric division, which included constructing an administration operations facility, improvements to the existing warehouse and other work.

Those projects had an original principal issue amount of $33.45-million and have a current outstanding bond principal amount of $20.485-million, according to Winkel's report.

He stressed that the restructuring only accounts for old projects.

"This doesn't propose any new projects. This is only a refinancing of the city's debt on previous projects," Winkel said.

lrice@thisweeknews.com