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Wheeling to save $1M by refinancing bonds

WHEELING, W.Va. — Wheeling will save almost $1 million over the next 17 years by refinancing about $6 million in tax increment financing debt – about $330,000 more than originally anticipated, City Manager Robert Herron told council members Tuesday.

Herron said the city secured a lower interest rate from WesBanco than expected – 2.78 percent, compared to a projected 3.25 percent – in the bond sale.

The old TIF debt the city is refinancing is related to development of the Stone Center and the city’s original investment to purchase buildings on the 1100 block of Main and Market streets. Herron predicted a savings of $647,000 under the projected interest rate, but said the city actually will conserve $976,000 throughout the 17-year bond term.

Herron said this lower interest rate increases the city’s bond coverage to 142 percent. When additional tax revenue is generated by The Health Plan’s move to the 1100 block and the future Boury Lofts apartment complex in years to come, that coverage will jump to 175 percent – meaning the city, after it makes its annual debt payments of $707,000, will have an additional $511,000 left over for projects in the downtown TIF district.

In other business, council also unanimously passed three ordinances. One establishes a handicapped parking at 429 Hazlett Ave., another authorizes Herron to spend $33,439 on a vehicle for the water department and the third approves a $63,986 contract with Lash Paving of Bridgeport for street resurfacing.

Councilwoman Gloria Delbrugge also offered an update on Councilman Robert “Herk” Henry, who was injured in a fall last month. She said he will visit his doctor today, and if he’s given the OK, he will likely attend Mayor Andy McKenzie’s State of the City address on Feb 23 at Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack.

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