Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County eyes $5M more in loans |
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Rich Cholodofsky

The Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County is considering another financing plan, a year after borrowing more than $130 million to pay for a five-year upgrade of its water system.

Authority manager Chris Kerr said Wednesday that an additional $5 million could be borrowed as part of an overall $10 million package that includes refinancing bonds that were issued in 2009.

The new money would pay for capital improvements, although authority officials have not yet decided on projects.

“We want to know what our debt would be, but we haven’t made any determinations yet. We always have a laundry list of capital projects requested by management,” Kerr said.

In a pitch to board members, Henry J. Sallusti, managing director of RBC Capital Markets, said the authority should take advantage of lower interest rates.

The plan proposed Wednesday called for the authority to refinance $5 million in debt and borrow an amount between $3.5 million to $5 million.

Sallusti said interest rates have plunged to about 3.3 percent, and the refinancing would net the authority about $431,000 in savings over 11 years.

“It definitely makes sense to refinance,” Sallusti said.

Board members could make a decision next month.

The authority last year issued more than $130 million in bonds as part of a five-year overhaul of the water system that serves more than 120,000 customers in five counties.

The authority has spent $26.6 million of that money on dozens of projects, replacing water lines in various locations, including North Huntingdon, New Stanton and Kiski Township; repairing pumping stations; and making other infrastructure improvements, such as installing new pipes that will allow the utility to sell water to Monroeville and Plum residents.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or [email protected].

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