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County gets good news on sale of jail bonds

The former Oregon Youth Authority facility in Warrenton will be turned into the new county jail. (Cindy Yingst)
Thursday, March 7, 2019

Clatsop County sold $20 million in bonds last week, which will be used to fund the county jail relocation project approved by voters in November.

The sale was well-received by investors, county officials said. Due to investor demand for premium bonds, the county will receive $23.44 million for the project.

The new jail is being built at the former Oregon Youth Authority detention facility in Warrenton. The county plans to put the extra $3.44 million into reserves to offset any potential cost overruns associated with construction.

“We are beyond ecstatic at the results of this recent bond sale,” Interim County Manager Monica Steele said. “This is a perfect example of strong budget policies that instill prudent fiscal management. Clatsop County taxpayers will reap substantial savings due to these efforts.”

The county worked with Piper Jaffray as the bond sale’s underwriter and conservatively planned for the sale at a maximum average annual interest rate of 4.92 percent.

Thursday’s bond sale resulted in a true interest cost of just 3.29 percent.

“In today’s market, investors are increasingly focused on credit quality and the rating of the issuer, said Carol Samuels, managing director for Piper Jaffray. “The county’s rating from Moody’s, which reflects the strong financial management of the county and the economic stability of the community, was critical to the bond sale and an important factor driving demand for the bonds.”

The new jail will feature 148 beds, nearly 2 ½ times the 60 beds in the current facility in downtown Astoria.

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