Andalusia OKs interim financing for airport debt

Published 1:24 am Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Andalusia City Council on Monday agreed to temporarily use a line of credit to finance its portion of the long-term debt associated with South Alabama Regional Airport.

The airport has approximately $12 million in long-term debt associated with the construction of industrial buildings adjacent to the airport for economic development. The debt was secured by the cities of Andalusia and Opp, and by Covington County.

This past summer, the three entities agreed to refinance its portions of the debt separately.

“This new financing will reduce Andalusia’s exposure from $12 million to less than $4 million,” Mayor Earl Johnson said.

Covington County has completed the refinancing of its portion, and Opp is expected to close its refinancing next week.

Amendment 725 allows city to participated.

Johnson said the city will wait until its fiscal year 2015 audit is completed and ask for a new rating from Standard and Poor’s before proceeding with a new bond issue for its portion of the debt. Meanwhile, it entered an agreed with Orlando-based PNC Bank for a line of credit from March of 2016 with a variable interest rate of 1.7 percent.

The city’s airport-related debt will be between $3.5 million and $3.9 million, city clerk John Thompson explained. Early estimates were $3.9 million, but Thompson said there are reserve funds and bond fun ds that will come into play, reducing the financed amount to $3.5 million.

Thompson said the city made significant improvements in FY 2015, including reducing its debt and growing its reserves, both of which should improve its S&P rating.

In other business, the council:

•  Agreed to purchase a front end loader for the Public Works Department from the state bid list at a cost of $167,000. The purchase will be made from the city’s capital fund.

• Abated property on Broughton Street and Woodruff Avenue for weeds and grasses.

• Approved an off-premise beer and alcohol license for Vinny’s Four, located at 1305 River Falls St.