Almost eight years after voter approval, the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District’s $100 million bond measure has produced a plethora of new and improved parks, trails, natural areas and upgraded recreational facilities for residents throughout the greater Beaverton area.
During that time, the district has also moved aggressively to take advantage of opportunities in the financial markets to reduce the fiscal impact of the bond measure on those same voters.
According to Keith Hobson, THPRD director of Business & Facilities, the true cost of the $100 million bond measure over the 20-year payback period was originally scheduled to be $173 million. Through favorable bond sales and refinancings, the district has now reduced that liability to $142 million – a $31 million savings for taxpayers, or 18%.
In their latest effort, park district staff this month completed the refinancing of a portion ($8.7 million) of the 2011 bond issue that totaled about $40 million of the 2008 bond measure. The move reduced the debt service on that amount by more than 8%.
When the bond measure was approved in November 2008, it was to cost property owners within the district 37 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, to be paid over the course of 20 years. Now the rate is 31 cents per $1,000, and the term has been reduced to 18 years.
Hobson said the savings are attributable largely to continuing low interest rates and a favorable borrowing market. But the district’s strong credit rating also has played a major role.
“As part of our refinance this month, we had a credit rating update,” he said. “Moody’s reaffirmed our Aa1 rating on general obligation bonds, which is the second highest rating possible.”
Said Doug Menke, THPRD general manager, “It’s a great story for district taxpayers, due not only to lower interest rates but also to the hard work of our staff and the fiscal policy set by our board of directors.”
Formed in 1955, THPRD is the largest special park district in Oregon, spanning 50 square miles and serving about 240,000 residents in the greater Beaverton area. The district provides year-round recreational opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. Offerings include thousands of widely diverse classes, 95 park sites with active recreational amenities, nearly 70 miles of trails, eight swim centers, six recreation centers, and about 1,500 acres of natural areas. For more information, visit www.thprd.org or call 503-645-6433.