When Jeffco went to the financial market to sell bonds for its Capital Improvement Program, interest rates were low. Due to the way the bond was structured, this allowed Jeffco to obtain $50M in unexpected funding, or bond premium, for essentially the same costs.
But what to do with that extra $50M?
- In its 5B bond campaign Jeffco leadership stated (falsely) that the District had $1.3 billion in deferred maintenance needs. So why not use that $50M to address some of those needs that the $546M of 5B money couldn’t?
- Replace several of the schools that were slated for replacement in the 2016 failed Bond proposal such as Kyffin, Green Gables, Fletcher Miller or Parr.
- Ensure there is equity. Once 5B projects are completed there will still be several schools that have obvious FCI values much higher than other schools. For example, Vivian will have a FCI of over 44% while Stober, Colorow, Muhlholm and Lumberg will all have FCIs above 22%, well above the average FCI for District schools. Why not use some of the bond premium to actually provide the equity that Jeffco is always so quick to talk about?
- Reduce the amount of Capital Transfer from the General Fund that will be needed each year. The Capital Improvement Program is predicated on receiving $23M per year from the General Fund. It looks like there is already a shortfall this year of $2.1M. So, as a minimum, use the $50M bond premium to reduce the pressure on the General Fund. Spread out over the remaining 5 years of the Capital Improvement Project that would mean a reduction of $10M from the General Fund each year.
This $50M is an OPPORTUNITY to use taxpayers’ money to over deliver and make some additional enhancements to Jeffco.
To do anything less will be fiscal mismanagement, demonstrating that Jeffco is not capable of adequately managing the money taxpayers trusted it with. It will also make it more difficult to get Bonds passed in the future.
Do not use this $50M as added contingency for a program that already has $86M or 15% contingency built into it!