City votes on borrowing money, refinancing city debt

JACKSON, Tenn. — The city of Jackson approved a $6.2 million loan and a $69 million bond refinancing option during Tuesday’s City Council meeting. City leaders say all that is in the name of fixing the city’s debt.

“We’re actually going to consolidate most of the city’s outstanding financial debt into one bond issue,” said Nick Yatsula, a senior managing consultant with PMF Financial Advisors.

“I equate that to a major home refinance, so if you have an interest rate of 5 percent of your home loan and you’re refinancing that to 2.5 percent,” Mayor Scott Conger said.

There is a long-term goal of reducing the number of people working for the city to lower the operating budget.

Conger says the city doesn’t want to fire anyone, but instead they’ll rely on natural attrition, which involves retirements or taking other jobs, and then the city consolidates those positions.

“Can we move someone from the other department over, and find that consolidation? How can we reduce our workforce and be more efficient in how we provide resources?” Conger said.

However, Conger says the city will still need loans for the capital budget.

“As you see the interest rates climb, we’re locking it into a fixed rate. It helps us plan for the future, so there is no unknowns,” Conger said.

The city has opted for a five-year plan, with the hopes of needing to borrow less and less each year as they reduce the operating budget.

Council members denied any discussion of raising taxes to help with the repayment.

“There has not been any mention. I do not see, in the future, it has not been mentioned at all,” said Marda Wallace, representative for City Council District 7.

“No. No, absolutely not,” reiterated Conger.

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