Refinancing will save electric cooperative thousands

GARDEN CITY, Kansas – The Wheatland Electric Cooperative provides water to some areas with a water treatment plant in Garden City.

In 2005, the 7.5 million dollar facility was financed using revenue bonds. Now with a changing economy and lower interest rates Wheatland Electric has gotten permission from the Garden City Commission to refinance the bonds to save money.

“It makes sense to do a refunding or a refinancing,” said Garden City’s Director of Finance Melinda Hitz.

That move will, of course, have a positive impact on Wheatland.

“Their operating costs will be lessened by a lower interest rate,” said Hitz.

Will it benefit customers, municipalities like Garden City?

“That would be up to Wheatland,” said Garden City Mayor Dan Fankhauser.  “I would hope that we could get some of that back so we could pass it on to people on their water bill.”

Wheatland wouldn’t meet for an interview Thursday, but they would they hope to save a total of about a hundred thousand dollars on what’s left to pay on the treatment plant.

Garden City uses about a million gallons of water a day from the plant, residents pay the city, and the city pays Wheatland.

“It wouldn’t be all that much savings, but it would be some,” said Fankhauser.

Wheatland would not say for sure until the refinancing is complete, only that they hope to eventually lower costs to the city.

Wheatland Electric will present a more comprehensive plan for the refinancing at the next Garden City Commission meeting on March 18th.

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