Refinancing of bonds for White Bluff approved by county court

Bonds that were originally issued in 1977 to pay for pollution control and solid waste disposal equipment at the White Bluff electric plant at Redfield were refinanced by an order of the Jefferson County Court Wednesday afternoon.

County Judge Mike Holcomb and County Clerk Patricia Royal Johnson signed the order refinancing the bonds, which was prepared by attorney Thomas P. Leggett of the Friday, Eldredge and Clark Law firm of Little Rock.

Leggett said since the bonds were first issued, they have been refinanced several times to take advantage of lower interest rates, with the last refinancing in 2006.

The original bond issue was for $54,700,000 and that will not change, and the bonds are due to be retired in 2017, so Leggett said this will probably be the final time the bonds will be refinanced.

The court document provides that “the completion and operation of the facilities (White Bluff) and the issuance of the Series 2012 bonds to refinance the same, have assured and will assure the continuation of substantial employment and payrolls and will thereby secure and develop industry in the County.”

Leggett said the refinancing was requested by Entergy, Arkansas (formerly Arkansas Power and Light) when the bonds were first sold, to take advantage of a lower interest rate.

No tax money is involved in the bond refinancing and the court order says “in no event will they constitute an indebtedness of the county.”

Before signing the order, Holcomb said he had talked to Jefferson County Attorney Terry Wynne who saw no problem with the refinancing.

After a 30 day waiting period, the bonds will be sold by underwriters selected by Entergy, Arkansas, and Legett said that sale will be completed by early October.