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County refinances Norm Dicks Government Center
Kitsap County is poised to save big bucks after refinancing bonds for the Norm Dicks Government Center in downtown Bremerton.
Kitsap County Treasurer Meredith Green says that by taking advantage of good interest rates, the county and Housing Kitsap will save $102,000 per year over the next 20 years. The county will also refinance two other bonds from 2003 and 2004. The savings on those is expected to be $234,000 per year over 15 years, Green said.
In 2003, the county partnered with the City of Bremerton and the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority, now known as Housing Kitsap, to purchase and develop the government center. The City of Bremerton recently refinanced its bonds for the project for estimated debt service savings of $1,320,706 during the remaining life of the bonds, with the city’s savings estimated at $741,718.
Green says that the housing authority still owes the county about $10 million for a $40.5 million loan to keep the agency afloat that was set to be due this month. But Green said things could be worse.
“I think, like a lot of people in retrospect, what we did with the housing authority wasn’t a great idea. But one of the things that has happened since 2009 is we started with $40 million in debt and expected to end up with somewhere between $12 to $15 million in debt,” she said. “The commissioners worked very hard to get us into a situation where the housing authority’s remaining debt was about $10 million. Given where we started, with $40 million in exposure, where we ended up is pretty impressive, especially considering the real estate market.”
Just how Housing Kitsap will repay the county is still not certain, but it’s expected that it will apply its $51,000 annual savings toward the debt. The county, meanwhile, under a new payment structure, will pay $782,000 a year over the next 16 years to pay off the debt.