ST. MARTINVILLE — The St. Martin Parish Council passed a resolution Tuesday without opposition to sell bonds worth $7.34 million to repair roads and bridges across the parish.
Bond attorney Scott Crawford, of Crawford & Associates, said he believed the last resolution of support passed by the council in September would allow him to begin the process of selling the bonds.
Another resolution was needed by the state Bond Commission to allow Parish President Guy Cormier to sign all necessary paperwork to complete the process, he said.
Crawford also said the parish was looking to sell bonds at a great time because interest rates were extremely low.
Bond counsel Ted Jones, of Crawford and Associates, agreed and said the bond offer was well received by Standard & Poors in New York City.
“The bonds all sold quickly and secured low interest costs,” he said. “The rate is 3.83 percent over 20 years, and this low rate is due to you being good stewards of your money.
“You built unrestricted fund balances while controlling your debt burden. Your interest rates are low due to the market, but also due to your leadership efforts,” he said.
The parish originally expected a rate of just over 4 percent, and the lower rate will save the parish $18,000 to $19,000 annually in interest payments over 20 years.
Jones said the money is expected to be made available Oct. 20, when it could be spent on projects.
“That is a significant savings,” Cormier said. “Our rating with Standard & Poors went from BBB to an A rating for this bond issue and we are pleased with the result. I thought the rating should have been an A+, but we will take it and go for an A+ next time.”
Council Attorney Chester Cedars said he was impressed a rural parish could overcome economic obstacles over the past decade to earn the A rating after Cormier traveled to New York to answer financial questions from S&P analysts.
“It makes me proud to be a citizen of this parish,” he said.
Councilmen Lloyd Higginbotham and James Hebert were absent.