San Bernardino Community College District announced today that the community’s property tax bill will be cut by nearly $19.6 million. The tax savings benefit homeowners and businesses in SBCCD’s service area which covers 22 cities and communities including Big Bear Lake, Colton, Grand Terrace, Highland, Lake Arrowhead, Loma Linda, Redlands, Rialto, San Bernardino, and Yucaipa.
In 2002 and 2008, local voters approved Measure P and Measure M, respectively, to repair and upgrade aging classrooms, labs, and job training facilities at Crafton Hills College and San Bernardino Valley College.
SBCCD officials recently refinanced those bonds and took advantage of two low-interest-rate periods before and after the COVID-19 pandemic to replace higher interest rates with lower interest rates.
“When we invest in our community colleges, our community thrives, and this announcement underscores that point,” said Dr. Anne L. Viricel, chair of the SBCCD Board of Trustees. “Especially during a time of economic uncertainty, we are committed to efficiently using public dollars to support our local students and families.”
SBCCD Trustee Gloria Macias Harrison, who chairs the board’s finance committee, agrees.
“This is a win for our community and our students,” she said. “We’re saving taxpayers millions while retrofitting our classrooms and labs for student health and safety and quality workforce training.”
In November 2019, bonds with a 4.68% interest rate were refinanced at 2.91%. And in June 2020, additional bonds with a 4.51% interest rate were refinanced at 1.72%. The refinancings do not extend the bonds’ repayment term and reduce the community’s tax bill by $19.6 million.
Since 2005, the district has saved taxpayers more than $52.6 million by refinancing its bonds.
The district’s ability to maximize public dollars has contributed to a recent credit rating upgrade to ‘Aa1’ from ‘Aa2’ by Moody’s Investors Service. Standard & Poor’s also gave the district high marks with an ‘AA’ credit rating. These are among the highest scores available for a California community college district, and a market indicator of SBCCD’s sound financial management.
For interim SBCCD Chancellor Jose F. Torres, “This means that the community can keep counting on SBCCD to deliver on its mission.”
“We will continue ensuring that local tax dollars are wisely put to work so that our students and families have access to higher education and career training for years to come,” Torres said.