Bond, Schoeneck & King Named Bond Counsel, Refinancing To Save Rome Nearly $300,000

March 30, 2011

ROME -- The City of Rome will save nearly $300,000 after refinancing $5.2 million in outstanding debt, according to Mayor James F. Brown.

The refinancing, which was finalized in December 2010, will save the city nearly $300,000 over a seven-year period. The bonds were initially sold in 1998 and 2001.

"In business, you need to identify savings wherever you can," Brown said, "and you need to maximize results for your shareholders -- in this case, our taxpayers. Over the past eight years, we've been very successful in applying business practices to reduce the cost of government. By refinancing bonds, aggressively rebidding our health insurance provider, changing the way we purchase supplies and materials, making our buildings and facilities more energy efficient, streamlining our workforce, and making better use of technology, we have been able to save more than $2 million and help stabilize property taxes over the past eight years."

Additionally, Brown said, the city's success in refinancing its bonds hasn't been lost on other communities. Recently, the City of Albany followed Rome's lead, and refinancing more than $13 million in bonds and looks to save roughly $500,000.

Brown praised the work of the city's new bond counsel, the legal firm of Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC, along with the bond firm Fiscal Advisors for their help in the refinancing process. The city switched to Bond, Schoeneck & King in May 2010 after a long association with the New York City firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLC.

"I can't tell you how pleased we were with the work of Bond, Schoeneck & King," Brown said, "and the personal attention, and attention to detail, that they gave the City of Rome. They truly partnered with us, and with Fiscal Advisors, to help us get the best refinancing options available. I appreciate their professionalism and dedication to the taxpayers of this community. Their efforts are particularly important as we look ahead to what looks like a very difficult budget year in 2012."

"Anything that we can save helps," City Treasurer Frank Puma said. Puma, whose duties include managing the City of Rome's bonds, said the refinancing sends a strong signal to the rating agencies that the City of Rome is committed to identifying potential savings and in continuing to practice stringent fiscal controls.

"The treasurer's office is committed to working hard to identify future savings also," Puma said, adding that he and his top two assistants meet monthly with the mayor to monitor expenses, revenues and identify additional cost containment strategies.

"The city has already begun additional fuel conservation practices in anticipation of even higher gasoline costs," Brown said. Like any successful business, Brown said, the city regularly shops around for the lowest gasoline rates and continually compares the rates its gasoline vendor provides to make sure that the city is receiving the lowest fleet rates available.

"I am very proud of our fiscal record," Brown said, "particularly at a time of great national and state financial distress and the impact they have had on local budgets. Despite these challenges, we have been able to cut costs while still providing our residents with the highest level of service."