St. Louis County Council to consider foreclosure mediation, has success with refinancing bonds

Jul 18, 2012

A bill introduced at the St. Louis County Council meeting last night would require lenders give homeowners a chance to go into mediation before foreclosure.

On the surface the bill is straightforward, but the details of the process could take months to iron out. 

Nevertheless, Councilwoman Hazel Erby said as the foreclosure crisis lingers she felt compelled to ask for the bill’s introduction.

“The number of foreclosures, and the fact that it’s continuing to increase, I mean, we have to do something, it’s just getting out of hand, it’s not getting any better,” Erby said.

In a letter to the council, Erby wrote that the number of foreclosures is driving down property values, reducing the tax base and ultimately putting an increased burden on the county’s budget.

Refinancing Ballpark Bonds

St. Louis County put more than 48 million dollars in bonds on the market yesterday to pay back the money borrowed to help build the new Busch Stadium.

Last month the council approved a plan to refinance the original stadium bonds in order to take advantage of near-record-low interest rates.

County Executive Charlie A. Dooley told the council last night that they almost doubled what that had originally expected to save.

“We got a much better savings,” Dooley said.   “We were anticipating somewhere between $4 and $5 million, we wound up saving more than $9.5 million.  So, that’s a great success, so, we’re extremely happy about that.”  

Dooley said originally the county was paying more than seven percent in interest on stadium bonds, but after Tuesday they’re paying a little under four percent.

The extra money will be used to rebuild the Convention and Recreation Trust Fund.