El Paso County set to receive $110 million in bonds

El Paso County set to receive $110 million in bonds
Monday, July 16, 2012 - 6:24pm

EL PASO -- El Paso County learned on Monday they will receive $110 million from certificates of obligation to pay for projects in the county such as the completion of the Tornillo-Guadalupe Port of Entry and expansion of the county jail annex in East El Paso.

In June, the county approved the sale of $110 million in bonds 4 to 1 with Commissioner Dan Haggerty voting against the measure.

"If we didn't fund the final part of the port of entry, then all of these years 20 years and multiple millions of dollars and hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government would have gone down the drain," said County Judge Veronica Escobar.

The bonds will fund various projects including $27 million will toward finishing the Tornillo-Guadalupe Port of Entry, $44 million will fund improvements and the expansion of the county jail annex in east El Paso, another $3.5 million for new sheriff deputy patrol cars and the remaining $36 million would pay for other projects including a radio system for the sheriff's department.

The county's financial advisor, Mark Valenzuela, said they got a good strong deal on the bonds because of the county's double A bond rating.

"The market was willing to negotiate and transact with El Paso County because of it's strength of financial management and because of it's bond rating for a much lower price than what other counties might have to pay," Valenzuela said.

Of the $110 million dollars in bonds, the county will only have to pay about $99 million dollars.

That's because investors wanting to receive a higher interest rate are willing to pay a premium to the county for more than what the bond is worth.

The certificates are structured to where in 9 years the county can refinance at a lower rate.

For property owners they will be paying about $24a year more in taxes on a home valued at $100,000.



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