With the help of some clever accounting, the San Luis Obispo County Regional Transit Authority has been able to shore up its finances without drawing from county coffers.
On Feb. 3, New Times reported that the agency, which provides inter-county public transportation, was asking SLO County officials for a $300,000 bailout. Facing a change in its loan agreement with Santa Lucia Bank, the RTA was asked by its lender at the time to keep $847,000 in cash collateral, an amount the agency was unable to sustain. At the time, a lifeline from the county budget was expected to keep the agency from cutting services to some of its bus routes.
However, on May 17, the RTA came to the county not with a request for money, but with a request to approve a loan refinance and transfer to Rabobank.
County supervisors unanimously approved the new loan, which will not only eliminate the cash-collateral requirement, but will also reduce interest payments over the life of the loan.
RTA officials took out the original $4.7 million loan to pay for improvements to a new facility at 179 Cross St. in San Luis Obispo. With the refinance, the RTA has a new $3.7 million loan with Rabobank that will be paid over 10 years with a fixed 6.25 interest rate for the first five years.