(Juneau) The Dodge County Board Tuesday night approved the sale of over $9-million-dollars in bonds to fund road repairs this year. The county board voted to borrow the money as part of the 2021 budget. The plan is to use that money to upgrade 31.8 miles of roadway this year, with the goal of borrowing the same amount for next year. A recent Dodge County Highway Department survey saw around 40-percent of the population in favor of spending the $18-million-dollars for roads, the highest percentage among four options given. The $9-million dollars will be paid back over a ten year period at a rate of point-seven-percent (.7-percent), utilizing tax levy dollars.
Phil Cosson with Ehlers Associates, who facilitated the bid process for the county, says there were a total of nine bids to purchase the bonds. He says the nine bids is several more than the average number of bids he has seen in the past, usually around five to six. Cosson says the reason the number was higher this time was due to three factors: the amount of the borrowing, the length of the bonds and the county’s high quality and very low credit risk.
Piper Sandler of Minneapolis, who was awarded the sale of the bonds, had the lowest bid. County officials wanted to borrow the money this year instead of pushing the issue down the road because current interest rates are lower than the rate of inflation, meaning tax payers will be saving money over the long term. If the county would have waited a few years to fix the roads, the rates may change and end up costing more.