Anyone still wondering whether the turmoil in the nation’s banking industry and the accompanying credit crisis would really have any impact on them need look no further than city hall and Auburn-Washburn Unified School District 437.


 Anyone still wondering whether the turmoil in the nation’s banking industry and the accompanying credit crisis would really have any impact on them need look no further than city hall and Auburn-Washburn Unified School District 437.
    Officials at both places are lamenting the effect the economic troubles have had on interest rates for municipal bonds, which are passed along to their taxpayers. ...
    Voters in USD 437 last year gave the district authority to issue $68 million in general obligation bonds — meaning they are backed by property tax revenue to build a new elementary school, an addition to Washburn Rural Middle School and a library at Washburn Rural High School. The district early this year issued $15 million worth of those bonds to get construction started on the elementary school, but now is debating when to issue another $30 million worth of the bonds to get the best interest rate possible.
    We think the concern for taxpayers being shown by the city and USD 437 is justified, and would urge all our local government entities to use their bonding authority wisely during these uncertain times. ...
    Dale Dennis, Kansas deputy education commissioner, says school district officials across the state who are preparing to issue bonds are having the same anxiety pangs as their colleagues at Auburn-Washburn USD 437.
    Dennis expects the interest rates will settle down and is recommending the districts wait 60 days, if possible, before taking bids on their bonds.
    We hope he’s right about the interest rates. But if they don’t settle down, we’d caution local governments to carefully weigh the need for projects funded through bonds against the long-term impact the higher rates will have on taxpayers’ pocketbooks.