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Commissioners Save Taxpayers Over $9 Million Through Fifth Third Field Refinancing

Ratings Agencies Praise County’s Commitment to
Maintaining Rainy Day Fund

Toledo, Ohio – In a time of dwindling resources, the Board of Lucas County Commissioners is pleased to announce a significant reduction in debt on Fifth Third Field.

Given the tremendous success of the ballpark since its opening in 2002, the Commissioners recently refinanced the outstanding debt on the facility.

Thanks to $4.3 million of additional rent paid to Lucas County by The Toledo Mud Hens, the Commissioners were able to shorten the repayment period on the ballpark by 5 years, from 2021 to 2016. In addition, because of the county’s solid budget management practices, the debt was refinanced at roughly 3%, half of the average interest rate of 6% in 2001.

As a result, taxpayers will see a gross savings of over $9.0 million and a net present value savings of $2.8 million. These savings will be realized in 2016 when the refinanced debt on the Arena is fully paid off, allowing the Commissioners to prioritize those dollars at that time.

“This refinancing is proof that we’ve made the right fiscal decisions over the last two years, protecting our rainy day fund and saving millions of dollars as a result,” said Commissioner Pete Gerken.

"Thanks to our tremendous Mud Hens fans and our prudent fiscal management, Fifth Third Field is now five years closer to being fully paid off. In a tough economy, this public-private partnership is truly paying dividends for county taxpayers," said Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak.

“Ten years ago, when the downtown baseball stadium project began, there were many skeptics. Thanks to visionary leadership at that time, today Fifth Third Field is the crown jewel of downtown Toledo, and is part of the fabric of Northwest Ohio. The bottom line doesn't lie. Fifth Third Field is a success. It is my hope that the savings from the refinancing can be reinvested in public safety, rehiring laid off Sheriff's deputies, and putting our community back to work through education initiatives,” said Commissioner Konop.

Chairman of the Mud Hens’ Board, Mike Miller said, “The Mud Hens board of directors has always taken the long term view regarding the debt on Fifth Third Field. From day one, the Hens’ goal has been to pay down the mortgage on Fifth Third Field as early as possible.”

President Joe Napoli said, “We made a promise to the community 12 years ago when we said that we would work hard to deliver a great fan experience at affordable prices, while meeting or exceeding our mortgage commitment.”

The Commissioners were also pleased to see their credit ratings affirmed by the major ratings agencies, especially as all municipal debt is currently undergoing rigorous scrutiny by potential buyers. According to Standard and Poor’s, “the County’s firm commitment to maintaining reserves” consistent with the County’s rainy day fund policy helped achieve the positive rating.

Standard & Poor rated the Fifth Third Field refinancing debt at A+, while Moody’s Investor Service rated the debt at Aa3.