The Washington City Council Monday took action to refinance certificates of participation (COPS) to save an estimated $900,000.

The council approved an ordinance with a 6-0 vote to begin the process of refinancing Series 2012B Certificates. Council members Susan Watermann and Mark Hidritch were not at the meeting.

A special meeting was held Nov. 13 to approve a resolution to work with Piper Jaffray and Co. to begin the process of refinancing the certificates.

The city has an outstanding principal of $27,245,000 on the bonds. The money was mostly tied into the Highway 100 expansion and the construction of the new library. 

The final payment for the bonds is due in 2030. The city began looking into refinancing to take advantage of a favorable market and save some money.

The original plan was to do the refinancing in 2018 after the April municipal election. If voters approve the extension of the half-cent capital improvement sales tax for another eight years, the city had considered securing bonds to pay for some of the potential projects.

The last time the tax was approved was in 2010. The bond market and construction market were both favorable so the city took advantage and used bond funds to start construction sooner, according to City Administrator Darren Lamb.

After several meetings of the capital improvement sales tax committee, Lamb said it doesn’t appear there are any major projects that would need bond financing. 

Michelle Bock with Piper Jaffray and Co. told the council the time was right to refinance. She said there’s a lot of “market volatility” right now as the U.S. Congress debates and discusses tax reform. 

The ultimate decision could have an impact on interest rates, but Bock said the rates are already low enough. By refinancing now, she said the city would see savings of about $915,000 after taking out the cost to refinance. Bock said bonds are expected to be sold Dec. 5.