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Local and State Partners Team up with State Treasurer to Finance Purchases, Save Big on Future Debt Costs

Grays Harbor College Student Services and Instructions Building

Eight municipalities across Washington, two state agencies, and three colleges are preparing to finance new equipment, emergency vehicles and building upgrades in partnership with the Office of the State Treasurer.

Utilizing the Local Option Capital Asset Lending Program (LOCAL Program) partners gain access to low financing rates — reducing future interest costs and allowing more taxpayer dollars to be kept in local communities. Funding for the program is supported by a three-times-yearly sale of Certificates of Participation. The first of 2022 will take place tomorrow morning in the State Treasurer’s Office. Proceeds from the sale will finance purchases requested by both local and state participants.

“My office is always looking to take advantage of our strong credit and low-interest rate environment to create savings for the people of Washington, especially locally, so communities can save their tax dollars for other local needs,” said State Treasurer Mike Pellicciotti. “As always, we are grateful to partner with community leaders in every corner of Washington to help finance important construction projects and equipment upgrades that keep all of Washington moving forward.”

In addition to the local governments and two state agencies participating, three colleges have partnered to access the state portion of the Treasurer’s lending program. Known as the State Lease Purchase Program, this financing option is geared toward community and technical colleges, universities and state agencies.

Grays Harbor College (GHC) is set to secure $3.2 million to help finance construction of the college’s new Student Services & Instructional Building, which will host student services offices and support additional programs. Other funding for the project was brought together thanks to the students at Grays Harbor College voting to implement a fee for the student life portion of the new building.

With construction activities underway, GHC President Ed Brewster is looking ahead at what the new one-stop shop for services will mean for students. “This is a long-time plan coming to realization,” said Brewster. “Grays Harbor will be able to provide better access to essential services and connect students with the type of resources that lead to successful educational outcomes in addition to providing more space for developing programs.”

The building will house a kitchen and dining room to support the launch of the college’s culinary and hospitality management programs, which are in development, and will provide new pathways to living-wage jobs in the hospitality and restaurant industries. The new space will also offer conference rooms and an events center. GHC anticipates opening the building for Fall quarter 2023.

Another portion of the Certificates of Participation sale will provide small districts throughout the state with financing for emergency vehicles and other critical purchases via the Treasurer’s LOCAL Program.

Southeast Thurston Fire Authority is one of the partner districts, seeking financing for the purchase of a new 4WD ambulance. Fire Chief Mark King, who has served the Fire Authority as Chief for the past 10 years, said that this purchase would not have been possible without the partnership of the Treasurer’s Office and its LOCAL Program administrators.

“If it wasn’t for the LOCAL Program, more than likely we’d have to delay this purchase for possibly as long as two years,” Chief King said. “We tend to run our service vehicles up to the 200,000-plus mile range. The ambulance that we’re replacing is over 18 years old and has more than 200,000 miles on it, so this purchase will go a long way to helping us reliably cover the communities we serve.”

Southeast Thurston Fire Authority provides first response fire and emergency and provides hospital transport to areas covering 129 square miles, including the cities of Yelm and Rainier. This is the first time that Southeast Thurston Fire Authority has participated in the Treasurer’s LOCAL Program.

The LOCAL Program helps districts all around the state find financing to fit their budget. The West Valley School District, located just eight miles east of downtown Spokane, is acquiring financing for the purchase of three school busses.

West Valley School District had 3,461 students enrolled during the 2020 ­‑ 2021 school year, according to records from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. This will be the district’s first time participating in the Treasurer’s Local Program.

While the state’s Certificates of Participation are highly rated, receiving a score of Aa1 from Moody’s, the state’s General Obligation Bond rating of Aaa from Moody’s has been maintained throughout the last year, with the latest rating confirmation published Tuesday of last week.