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West Deptford Committee Takes First Step to Bond Sale

The township committee formally authorized selling up to $33 million in bonds to cover settlement deals with Sunoco and El Paso on the Eagle Point refinery complex.

A week after a bipartisan effort saw on disputed property taxes at the , the West Deptford committee was back at work on the issue, laying the groundwork for the bond sale in the coming months.

The committee unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the bond sale, which could add up to $33 million to the township’s debt load to pay off the two deals, which total $31.4 million.

The township’s currently in the 20-day period of limitation, the window where the bond ordinance can be challenged, and Mayor Ray Chintall said given the township’s obligation to move relatively quickly to a bond sale after that window closes, it made sense to pass the resolution this month, rather than wait until August.

“We’d be very close” to the deadline at that point, he said.

Township administrator Eric Campo said it was the prudent move to get things in place ahead of the actual sale.

“The reality is, we’re under a time frame to meet our obligation,” he said. “This is merely settling the housekeeping issues.”

And since it gives the township’s treasurer the power to sign off on a sale, it gives the township a certain amount of flexibility when it comes time, bond counsel Thomas Hastie Jr. said.

“You can get a yes in the middle of the day,” he said. Otherwise, there would have to be either a midday special township meeting, or an after-hours approval, which could hurt the township’s bottom line.

As far as the sale itself, West Deptford has retained a pair of underwriters—RBC and Raymond James Morgan Keegan—to handle the operation.

While it’s somewhat unusual to have two underwriters—Hastie said RBC is large enough to handle the whole deal on its own—given the amount of money being bonded at once, there’s an advantage for the township to have competition. With two firms tackling the project, the likelihood of getting the best deal on the bonds is greater, Hastie said.

“The idea is to spread it out,” he said. “On something of that size, you want competition.”

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