Purdy school bond sale progresses smoothly

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Construction on storm shelter expected by year's end

Major steps have been taken advancing the new storm shelter for the Purdy school district.

Superintendent Steven Chancellor reported making a visit to the State Emergency Management (SEMA) office in Jefferson City, where he received the final go-ahead paperwork to begin work on the shelter, which will also serve as a new performing arts center for the school. SEMA acts as the intermediary agent between the school district and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the primary funder of the project. Paperwork Chancellor signed triggered the release of the first 20 percent of the funding to cover architectural and engineering expenses.

Stakes had been placed to conduct a geological bore this week on the site around the present preschool building, west of the high school.

"I think by late fall, early December we'll really be doing stuff," Chancellor said. "We want to hit milestones. If we can get the footings in, we can progress in the slop and the muck."

Haden Crumpton, an attorney with the investment banking firm of Gilmore and Bell, brought the board a resolution to approve authorizing the sale of $2.29 million in general obligation bonds, authorized by voters on Aug. 2, 2016. Sale of the bonds will be formalized on April 27.

Martin Ghafoori, director of public finance with Stifel, Nicolaus and Company, reported the bonding firm has $2.2 million in orders. An additional $850,000 in bonds were taken off the market for sale at a later date, redeemable in 2031, 2033 and 2035. The bond issue and sale left a total of approximately $2.4 million in funding available.

"Interest rates for the bonds came in right around 3 percent overall," Ghafoori said, dropping slightly right before the sale.

Short-term bonds redeemable in the first 18 to 22 months came in at 0.8 to 1 percent higher.

"Overall we had really good interest [in the sale]," Ghafoori said. "We had quite a few calls from local investors, including First State Bank and Community National Bank."

"Our timing is perfect," Chancellor said. "We're ahead of the curve. Other districts passed bond issues [on April 4] that will go up for sale in six to eight weeks. Supply has been low and the market has been good. It's been a good experience across the board."

The school board authorized Gilmore and Bell to serve as the district's representative to ensure compliance with IRS procedures on bond issues.

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