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Fairlawn refinances debt with better terms

10/18/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

The city of Fairlawn has refinanced its debt, and the result will be a savings of approximately $661,000, Mayor William Roth announced during the Oct. 15 Fairlawn City Council meeting.

“Our old debt rates were between 3.75 [percent] and 4.5 percent and also between 4.45 [percent] and 4.7 [percent]. Our new debt interest rates are 1.25 [percent] to 2 percent. So, we cut our interest rates in half,” he said. “There are different rates because there are different types of debt that were issued. We did not extend the term of the payments, so everything will be paid by 2022.”

According to Roth, Fairlawn was able to refinance for better terms because of the city’s “very high credit rating.” Roth said Fairlawn has the second-best credit rating in Summit County, behind only Hudson.

“It’s underlining the fact that we’ve handled our money very well, because otherwise we wouldn’t get to refinance like this. So, I think it’s a compliment to the city,” he said. “And, obviously, the market’s very conducive to doing this right now.”

Roth said the city will see the majority of the savings “up front.”

“We are saving, in the next two years, about $650,000,” he said. “Over the long term, we’re saving about $661,000. So that’s a nice savings. After the first two years, our yearly payments will be a little lower than what they are now, but we’d rather get the use of the bulk of the money now. That’s why we’re getting it up front.”

The majority of the money saved by the lower rates will be used for “budgetary purposes,” Roth stated.

“Next year, we have the inheritance tax being eliminated and local government’s funds have been cut again,” he said. “So really, this is money we’re using for operating and capital expenses. We’re not going to spend the money like mad men — we’re going to use the money wisely.”

In other news:

• Council gave a reading of an ordinance “amending and or supplementing section 220.01 ‘officers; committees; Robert’s Rules; meetings; attendance’ of Chapter 220 ‘Council’ of the codified ordinances of the city of Fairlawn.”

The change eliminates the need for Council to elect a temporary chairman during its first regular meeting of the year to preside until a Council president is elected.

“This basically brings this section into compliance with the way the first meeting of Council of each year is held,” said Law Director Ed Riegler. “There are some minimal changes in there, but these changes do correspond with the way the meetings are taking place.”

• City Engineer Nick Spagnuolo said the work on the sanitary sewer on Ridgewood Road should be completed by the end of this week.

Council President Russ Sharnsky (at large) asked whether the completion of the sewer project would allow the road to “open back up and return to normal.”

“We’ll have to complete the storm sewer also, but then we’ll open it all up,” Spagnuolo replied.

Deputy Service Director Ernie Staten said the road “is open currently to two-way traffic.”

“We’ve made some changes out there and we’ve taken the temporary lights down,” he said. “We’re far enough off the road now that two-way traffic can be maintained. But there are always short, little periods where trucks are entering the zone that we have to stop traffic.”

• Fire Chief Russ Hose said his department took part in some “very successful training this past week with three companies from the city of Akron Fire Department.”

“These would be the mutual aid companies that would come to Fairlawn,” he said. “We did it over a three-day period in the middle of the week. It kind of lets our guys on the individual shifts get to know the guys with the Akron shifts that are specific to coming out to Fairlawn. It’s a cooperation type of thing, and we hope to do more of these in the future.”

• Staten said Fairlawn’s leaf pickup will begin Oct. 22.

• Parks and Recreation Director Laurie Beisecker issued a reminder that Fairlawn’s Beggars’ Night will take place Oct. 28 from 5 to 7 p.m. [See related story on Page 1.]

The next Council meeting is set for Nov. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at Fairlawn City Hall, 3487 S. Smith Road. The next Committee-of-the-Whole meeting is set for Oct. 22 at 6 p.m.

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