College of the Canyons refinanced $36.8 million of outstanding general obligation bond debt giving the district’s taxpayers a cash flow savings of $2.9 million. This represents an overall savings of 5.79% of the refinanced bonds.
“The Santa Clarita Community College District has a longstanding reputation for finding ways to save local property owners money whenever possible,” said College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook. “We are very pleased to have been able to refinance our general obligations once again with fantastic results.”
The Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees, which oversees the college, voted on Wednesday, April 14 to refinance these particular general obligation bonds from Measure M and Measure C. The sale was completed on May 27.
“Since 2013, the Santa Clarita Community College District’s refinancing efforts have resulted in nearly $50 million in cumulative savings to taxpayers,” said Sharlene Coleal, assistant superintendent/vice-president of business services at the college, who has coordinated all bond refinancings for the district.
This is the fourth time in eight years the college has refinanced bonds in an effort to lessen the tax impact on property owners.
A 2019 refinance yielded $8.3 million of savings, which represented a 12.96% reduction. That refinancing also lowered taxes for area property owners. Prior refinancings also occurred in 2016 and 2013.
“I applaud the Santa Clarita Community College District for its repeated efforts to provide savings to local taxpayers over the years,” said Kevin Holmes, chair of the bond oversight committee. “Their proactive approach to bond refinancing is truly admirable and is great news for the Santa Clarita Valley community.”
The Government Finance Officers Association, a national non-profit organization dedicated to providing guidance to improve government management, advises that agencies should consider refinancing bonds if they can save taxpayers at least 3%.
Measure C, which local voters passed in 2001, funded a number of significant facilities improvements at College of the Canyons, including the cost of acquiring 70 acres of land on Sierra Highway to build the Canyon Country Campus, and constructing the Hasley Hall classroom and computer facility, the Aliso Hall and Aliso Lab science facilities, and the Pico Canyon Hall performing arts classroom and rehearsal spaces.
The funding provided through Measure M, approved by voters in 2006, helped the college complete a number of facilities projects, including construction of all the initial buildings at the Canyon Country Campus.
It also qualified COC to receive state matching funds used in building the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center that now offers more than 40 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs.
Other key projects included the Culinary Arts building, the Mentry Hall classroom expansion, The Library and Learning Center expansion, the Applied Technology Education Center at the Canyon Country Campus, and the Canyons Hall student services center.
Together, Measure C and Measure M qualified College of the Canyons to receive $56.2 million in construction funds from the state. Colleges that have local bond funds available are given priority when applying for state funding.