NORMAN — An unexpected boost of $4 million in sales tax collections prompted Cleveland County commissioners Wednesday to designate the excess money to pay off jail bonds early.
Commissioners also learned that the entire bond issue to build the Cleveland County Detention Center could be possibly paid off 10 years early.
“When the citizens approved this sales tax, we told them … we would pay the bonds off as soon as possible. This action moves us well down the road in achieving that goal,” Cleveland County commissioner Rusty Sullivan said.
Commissioner Rod Cleveland said paying off these bonds early can save $14 million in interest.
“It is amazing how much you can save by paying off the bonds early,” Cleveland said.
“I could not have been more excited in the amount of interest we will be saving over 10 years,” Commissioner Darry Stacy said.
“Projections indicate that the entire bond issue can be paid off 10 years ahead of schedule, if not earlier,” Bond counsel Jeff F. Raley said.
In 2008, county voters approved a one-fourth cent sales tax for the next 20 years to generate revenue to pay off the jail bonds.
It was anticipated that the tax would generate about $500,000 a month, but collections have been closer to about $650,000.
“We’re not the heroes here,” said John H. Banks with D.A Davidson & Co. “It is the economy.”
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