As part of the authorization of the jail project at the November 2020 election, voters approved Saline County to issue up to $89,655,000 in bonds. County Commissioners authorized the first bond sale via Resolution on July 13. The County was pleased that on July 26, Moody’s Investors Service affirmed their rating of Aa2 on the County’s bonds. This is the same bond rating as the State of Kansas and the City of Wichita.
On Thursday, August 5, the County accepted bids on the first $74,900,000 of jail bonds. Eight different national firms submitted bids for the County’s bonds. The great credit rating plus favorable market conditions allowed the County to receive a true interest cost of 1.748% on a 22-year bond issue. Furthermore, the bonds were bid at a “premium,” meaning the County will receive approximately $81 million in proceeds on this $74.9 million issue. On August 10, the County Commissioners affirmed Raymond James of St. Petersburg, Florida, as the winning bidder.
Bond closing will occur on August 26, and proceeds will be available to the County at that time. The first payment on the bonds will be in 2022. Payments will be made from the ½-cent sales tax increase also authorized by voters in November 2020. The sales tax went into effect on April 1, 2021, and will sunset when all bonds are repaid. So far, the County has received two monthly disbursements of sales tax from the State and they have been above the estimates included in the bond financing plan; if this trend continues long-term, the bonds will be paid off early.