Byram may hire consultant to calculate the best way to finance township projects

Byram. Councilman Raymond Bonker wants to see a plan showing how financing will affect taxpayers going out several years.

| 28 Sep 2021 | 06:13

Byram Councilman Raymond Bonker said the financing committee is considering several money-borrowing options, and suggested hiring a consultant to help figure out the most cost-effective way forward.

At the Sept. 21 council meeting, he said the committee is considering taking on annual bond anticipation notes (BANs), in which money is available at a 0.39 percent rate for 12 months.

Byram could roll the BANs into a permanent debt option, he said.

The committee also reviewed the possibility of taking on permanent debt 12 months from now, with lower interest rates, Bonker said.

Other sub-options, he said, include a permanent debt offering without traditional financing. Then, he said, Byram can micro-manage how much debt becomes due each year, along with a “call option to pull bonds back after a certain number of years.”

Bonker said the finance committee has been meeting with auditors and with Phoenix Advisors LLC, which works with local governments to obtain financing. The committee wants the council to consider having Phoenix Advisors develop a comprehensive debt management plan for Byram at a cost of $2,500. The plan would analyze cost-effective financing and include everything, not just building financing, Bonker said.

In the short term, he said, the plan would be applied to bond offerings. In the long-term, the township will look to reduce the cost of interest. He said the plan would show the impact on taxpayers of all finances going out several years.

Byram plans to build a new municipal building estimated to cost $5.5 million. The council has agreed to pay the Nader Group $61,500 to develop a site plan for the new building.

Mayor Alex Rubenstein, also part of the finance committee, said when Byram goes out for bonding, the township would know what that means for taxpayers.

Councilman Harvey Roseff asked to see a spreadsheet that takes in roads, fire trucks, schedules, and debt requirements. The township already has that data, he said, adding, “Why hire a consultant?”