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Hamilton County Officially Refinances Stadium Debt To Save Money

Bill Rinehart

Homeowners occasionally refinance their mortgages to take advantage of lower interest rates to save money. 

The Hamilton County Commissioners just did essentially the same thing Wednesday with the bonds it issued back in the 1990's to build Paul Brown Stadium, Great American Ball Park and other riverfront improvements.

The commissioners refinanced $376 million of municipal bond debt at current lower bond rates that will save the county about $87 million in interest between now and 2032.  The county said annual savings to the stadium fund will range from $2 million to $7 million between 2017 to 2032, when the bonds mature.

Hamilton County voters in 1996 approved a ballot measure increasing the county's sales tax by one-half percent to pay for the stadiums.

All three commissioners had praise for the refinancing package.

"These savings will help stabilize the Stadium Fund that took a big hit during and after the recession, due to decreasing sales tax revenue," said Commissioner Chris Monzel in a press release. "This will enable the county to work toward restoring the property tax rollback to Hamilton County taxpayers."

Commissioner Dennis Deters said the stadium fund's stability is critical for the county's financial health.
“With this refinancing, we are turning the corner in the stadium fund to ensure that the commitments to property taxpayers are protected," Deter said in the release.

Commissioner Todd Portune said the refinancing will provide much needed financial relief for the county.

"It will also arm the county with the fiscal tools we need to shore up our finances while having the ability to consider addressing a short and long term economic development plan for the county that works to the benefit of each of our 49 cities, villages and townships," Portune said in the press release.

The refinancing will also allow the county to continue to fund the annual property tax rollback, which was promised to voters in 1996 as part of the sales tax increase measure.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.