College of the Canyons refunded $31 million of outstanding general obligation bond debt. The district’s taxpayers will have cash flow savings of $8.3 million over the next 23 years. This represents an overall savings of 12.96 percent of the bonds that were refunded.
“The Santa Clarita Community College District worked quickly to take advantage of the current low interest rates to refund the bonds and save local property owners money in the process,” said College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook. “Due to the college’s solid credit ratings, our bonds always attract interest from strong and stable investors.”
The Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees, which oversees the college, voted on Wednesday, Nov. 6 to refund these particular general obligation bonds from Measure M. The sale was completed on Thursday, Nov. 14.
This is the third time in six years the college has refund bonds in an effort to lessen the tax impact on property owners. A 2016 refunding yielded $35 million of savings, which represented more than a 23 percent reduction. That refunding also lowered taxes for area property owners.
The Government Finance Officers Association, a national non-profit organization dedicated to providing guidance to improve government management, advises that agencies should consider refunding bonds if they can save taxpayers at least 3 percent. The college district’s overall savings of 12.96 percent of the bonds that were refunded indicates how advantageous it was to refund now.
“The Measure M and E Citizens Oversight Committee applauds Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook and the college’s staff for their efficient actions to maximize the bond funds to improve the college’s two campuses,” said Nick Lentini, chair of the bond oversight committee. “Their proactive approach in working with professionals in the bond management industry has repeatedly provided savings to Santa Clarita Valley taxpayers.”
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.