BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Rising interest rates are giving everyone, including Bay County Commissioners, reason to pause before making big financial decisions.
Bay County Commissioner, Doug Moore, said the market is so unpredictable the interest rate on a recent loan offer was fluctuating the day they were given the proposal.
“We’re coming into an environment right now that they have increased interest rates several times over the last couple of months,” Moore said.
Moore is a member of the county’s debt committee. On Tuesday they opted for a fixed rate loan which was .07 percent more than a floating rate option.
But the cheaper rate couldn’t be locked in until August. With experts predicting another rate hike at next week’s Federal Reserve meeting, the committee went with what they feel is best.
“If we can’t lock it then and we’re meeting now, and we have that expectation of next week there’s going to be a jump in interest rates even if its only a quarter percent jump, their rate is more than likely going to be higher than what the other bank gave us which is fixed,” Moore said.
Moore pointed to another recent county transaction. When the county borrowed $100 million for Hurricane Michael recovery, they opted for a fixed loan.
At the time, it looked like it would cost the county money. But because rates have increased, it’s turned into a massive savings.
“The difference between the fixed rate at the time that we locked it in was going to cost the county what it looked like $90,000,” Moore said. With the rise in interest rates right now, it’s looking like we’ve actually saved the county and the community members about $1.2 million.”
Moore said for him, the rates are top of mind and commissioners do everything they can to save taxpayer’s money.
Moore also said interest rates can indirectly impact whether or not they have to raise taxes for items like millage.