CAIRO — Grady County officials have finalized a deal to refinance old loans taken out to create Tired Creek Lake that is expected to save more than $1.6 million.

Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to approve an intergovernmental contract that authorizes the bonds to be refinanced. The Tired Creek Lake Authority previously voted to ratify their portion of the same agreement, as well as a resolution authorizing the refinancing.

Overall, the county will be saving $1.643 million, or about 16 percent, of what they otherwise would have owed over the next 10 years.

“I think I speak for everybody on the board and in the county – this is a good deal,” said Commissioner Ray Prince.

“This is much better than we’d thought we’d get.”

The county’s new interest rate on the bonds will be 1.39 percent — a tenth of a percent lower than what bond underwriter Raymond James was originally anticipating.

“We are very, very pleased with how this turned out,” said Tom Owens, a representative from Raymond James.

Discussions with Raymond James over refinancing the $10 million bonds the county took out in 2010, which the county still owes payments for the next 10 years, go back at least two years, though the process did not begin formally until this summer.

The process of refinancing the bonds was intensive, said County Administrator Buddy Johnson, but the effort went smoother than expected.

“It’s great that we’re getting these savings and it’s amazing that we’re getting what we are,” Johnson said Tuesday. “I hate to say it’s taking advantage in some respects of a bad situation nationally, but it’s working out in our favor to do what we’re doing. Let’s hope everything recovers and goes back to where it should and gets the economy right.”

Payments on the bond will be made using fishing revenues from Tired Creek Lake.

The bonds in question are unrelated to the $10.35 million 2015 bonds, which will not be available to refinance until 2025.

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