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Officials approve bond refinancing

LAWRENCEVILLE — Commissioners approved the refinancing of two bond programs, saving millions, but the biggest transaction fell through in a volatile market.

Even though three credit rating agencies recently confirmed Gwinnett’s triple AAA bond rating — the highest possible — an attempt to reprice water and sewer bonds from 2003 on Tuesday failed to give the desired savings. Instead of the expected 3 percent target due to low interest rates this fall, prices came in with only a 0.4 percent savings.

Officials decided not to move forward with the refinancing.

“Several issues occurred in the bond market ... which were attributable to the interest rate changes,” an e-mail from county spokeswoman Heather Sawyer said. “We will continue to watch the market over the next several months and will proceed with the refunding, if conditions suggest we will reach the 3 percent target.”

A restructuring to 2001 bonds issued for the county civic center is expected to save the county about $1.7 million, while a school board transaction approved by the board Tuesday is expected to save $10 million.