Leaders praise town manager for refinancing debt
by Staff Writer
HUNTERSVILLE – The town will save more than $2 million after taking advantage of historically low interest rates and a strong bond market to refinance nearly $20 million in debt.
Huntersville staff used revenue from bond sales to pay off bank loans taken out in 1995, 1999, and 2009 for construction of two parks, the Huntersville Family Fitness and Aquatics Center and the Town Center project.
The refinancing, staff announced at the town board’s Monday, April 2, meeting, allows Huntersville to essentially cut its interest rate on the debt in half. The bank loans had rates around 5 percent. The town will pay a 2.4 percent yield on the bonds.
The town’s bond rating improved from AA in 2004 to AAA – the highest possible rating – in 2010. Town Manager Greg Ferguson said a combination of that rating and the strength of the bond market enabled the town to get such a favorable rate.
“We’d been watching the market to see when the best time to do the refinancing would be,” Ferguson said.
The board voted to award Ferguson a $10,000 performance bonus following his merit review.
“We are all very proud to have Greg Ferguson as our town manager, and I think it’s worth stating on the record,” Mayor Jill Swain said.
Commissioner Charles Jeter said Ferguson’s self-directed initiative to save the town money earned him the bonus.
“From my perspective in the private sector, I believe that people should only get a raise or a bonus for going above and beyond,” Jeter said. “In this economy giving anyone a $10,000 bonus is significant, but I’d like to point out that this is the first raise he’s gotten in more than three years (since Ferguson was first made town manager) because of the difficult budget realities we’ve faced.”
The board also approved a permit for Raymer Kepner Funeral Home to build a crematorium at its Old Statesville Road location. In recommending approval, the town planning staff said that toxic emissions from the facility would be “well below allowable concentrations.” Four other similar Mecklenburg County crematoria have not generated emissions or odor complaints, staff said.