City saves $1.5 million with timely move

It’s an issue that Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich had been monitoring behind the scenes for months, and now, in the midst of the coronavirus and as interest rates have fallen dramatically, he’s done the deed.

The city will save nearly $1.5 million over time, including nearly $400,000 in the next year, by partially refinancing two bond issues at significantly lower interest rates: the 2014 stadium bond issued to finance the city’s minor league baseball stadium, and the 2014 general obligation bonds issued for locally financed infrastructure projects, the so-called “paving bond.”

The City Council approved the mayor’s request for authorization to issue new refunding bonds to refinance the 2014 bonds this month and bonds are scheduled to close on June 8.

The refinancing of the 2014 stadium bond will save more than a million dollars over the life of the original $21 million bond. The refinancing of the 2014 infrastructure bonds will save more than $400,000 on the original $14 million bonds. Interest rates on the refinanced 2014 stadium bonds, currently between 3.6 and 4.7 percent, will be reduced to about 2.18 percent. Interest rates on the 2014 infrastructure bonds, currently between 2.8 and 4.0 percent, will be reduced to 1.95 percent.

“We’d been watching this for some time,” Gilich said, “and when the federal reserve lowered interest rates to zero earlier this month, we knew we had an opportunity to save taxpayers’ money in Biloxi.”

The good news, the mayor added, is that the bonds are scheduled to be paid off on the original dates: 2029 for the paving and 2034 for the stadium.

“The big savings is going to be on the annual debt service,” Gilich said. “We free up money both in the near term and the long term. We’ve done this before when the opportunity arises, and we’re also going to continue to seek similar opportunities as we move forward. It just makes good sense.”

U.S. 90 work to continue through June 5

The closure of the northernmost lane of U.S. 90 east of White Avenue will continue through June 5, according to the latest from the city’s Engineering Department.

The westbound lane is closed as workers install a 16-inch water line in a small corridor being created 12 feet below ground along the northern edge of the highway. The work had been delayed for two years as a plan was crafted to tunnel under the remains.
See the traffic update
See the new infrastructure video update (published today)
See the updated infrastructure progress maps (published today)

Today’s update: Big business, flat numbers locally

Memorial Day Weekend was huge for Biloxi, Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich told members of the City Council today, and, he declared, the weekend took place against a backdrop of flatlining numbers locally.

Today’s Be Prepared report includes news on most city offices re-opening for walk-in traffic, and other scheduling issues. Also: Have you responded to the Census? You can do it easily, online.
Facebook: See today’s update
YouTube: See today’s update 
See the overall tracking chart
See the daily comparison chart
See the Harrison County 14-day chart
See the Mayor’s and Governor’s latest executive orders 
See the Phase 1 opening guidelines for casinos
See the Opening Up Biloxi Again guidelines
See Opening Up America Again guidelines

News & notes: Updated plan, weekly review, meeting replay

Updated plan: The city has updated its Opening Up Biloxi Again plan to include summer and camps, dance studios, fraternal organizations and museums. To visit the Opening up Biloxi Again page of the city website, click here.

Weekly review: The weekly report has details on the week that was from city departments: Police, Fire, and Engineering. To see the archive of weekly archives, click here.

Council meeting: To see a replay of today’s City Council meeting on YouTube, click here.