Gas well revenues, reserve funds enable early payoff of Cross Timbers Golf Course
by Carla Noah Stutsman
Since 1996, the people of Azle have either loved it or hated it.
Back then, at interest rates ranging from 4.3 to 6.0 percent, the $6,405,000 price tag the citizens of Azle were committed to pay for Cross Timbers Golf Course would not be paid off until 2025 – more than 29 years later.
But some smart moves on the part of city administrators coupled with some gas well revenues dedicated to paying down the total have resulted in debt reduction and interest savings as well as the inevitable retirement of the golf course debt some seven years early – in 2018.
The Azle city council voted on May 21 to call $240,000 in outstanding debt associated with CTGC.
According to city manager Craig Lemin, the early payment of these bonds was made possible utilizing approximately $170,000 of gas well royalties and city debt service reserve funds.
“This action saves the taxpayers of Azle more than $40,000 in interest payments, shortens the life of the debt by one year to 2018, and will reduce the remaining amount of debt outstanding to $1.24 million at the end of fiscal year 2012–13,” Lemin said.
But this is not the first time city officials have paid down the principal on the golf course debt.
In May 2009, $1.86 million was put on the principal.
In February 2010, the city refunded/refinanced $2,905,000 to a lower interest rate.
And in October 2011, the city paid an additional $695,000 toward the principal on the golf course debt.
That brings to $2,795,000 the total amount paid early – and therefore interest free – on the total golf course debt since April 2009.
In October 2007, the city council made the commitment that royalties from the gas wells drilled at Cross Timbers Golf Course would only be used for the early payment of golf course debt until the debt is completely paid, Lemin explained.
“Since April 2009, the city council has called $2,795,000 of that debt,” Lemin said. “These early payments have saved the taxpayers of Azle over $1.76 million in interest payments and have shortened the life of the debt by seven years.”