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Governmental Debt Declining Slowly

By Staff | Oct 16, 2012

While people don’t like to think about it, debt is not uncommon even for governmental entities. School districts, cities, counties and states all utilize some type of borrowing to operate at times, usually in order to carry out construction projects.

Over the years, outstanding debt in Palo Alto County has gradually decreased, as in the Fiscal Year that ended June 30, 2011, the total outstanding debt of all entities in Palo Alto County totaled some $25 million, according to figures supplied by the State Treasurer’s annual report of outstanding obligations.

When talking about debt, there are two ways the governmental entities can pay off those debts – general obligation bonds and revenue obligation bonds. General obligation bonds are generally repaid through property tax levies and general revenues. Revenue obligation bonds are repaid from money generated by a specific facility or project.

In Palo Alto County, four communities have no public debt obligations. Ayrshire, Curlew, Cylinder and Rodman reported no outstanding obligations, while the city of Emmetsburg reported outstanding debt of $7,136,000 in outstanding debt. The City of West Bend currently carries an outstanding debt of $2,071,800, while the community of Ruthven reported $737,997.99 in outstanding debt as of June 30, 2011. The City of Graettinger has an outstanding debt of $510,000 on the books while while the city of Mallard reported obligations totaling $15,000.

Overall, the communities in Palo Alto County reported outstanding debt totaling $10,470,797.99 for Fiscal year 2011.

Palo Alto County, as a governmental entity, reported outstanding debt obligations totaling $8,573,855.66 for fiscal year 2011. That debt was the result of an ambitious bonding project in 2008 that has been utilized for several road re-construction projects, including county roads B14, N60 and B53, as well as the recently completed B63 project east of Mallard.

Of the four school districts located in the county, the Emmetsburg Community School District listed outstanding debt of $6,415,000 million, while the Graettinger-Terril Community School District reported a debt of $234,245.58. All told, Palo Alto County schools have a total of $6,649,245.58 in outstanding obligations for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011.

The complete report of governmental debt is available in its entirety on the Sate of Iowa’s Treasurer’s website at www.treasurer.state.ia.us.