When a homeowner has a chance to refinance a home at a lower interest rate, he usually jumps at the opportunity.

Springville officials have a similar opportunity and are asking residents to allow them to go for it.The City Council unanimously agreed to hold a special bond election March 19 in which residents will be asked to approve a $6.5 million general-obligation bond.

Council members say the bond will be used to retire existing bonds that were issued in 1984 at interest rates higher than today's rates. City officials say the city would be wise to take advantage of today's interest rates, which are the lowest in years.

"All we're really trying to do here is refinance our debts at a better interest rate," Councilman Matt Packard said.

If approved by voters, city officials say the bond will be used entirely to pay off five sewer and water revenue bonds that were issued at rates ranging from 7.5 percent to 10.1 percent. The city would not be taking on more debt.

Larry Denham, vice president of Smith Capital Markets, said the city could probably get a general-obligation bond now at an interest rate of about 6.75 percent. At that rate, the city would save about $180,000 the first year and about $250,000 over the life of the bond. The bond would be issued for the same amount of time left on the existing bonds, a little over 13 years.

"This is a great opportunity for the city. We are not trying to sneak anything by the people. There is nothing hidden here," Packard said. "If the rates turn on us then we don't have to go through with this."

If the bond does not pass, the city could refinance the bonds through a revenue bond. But because the savings to the city would not be as great, council members say they would not likely pursue that option.

"If the people don't want to get a better rate through this bond then I guess we'll just pay more money," Packard said.

The city is currently publishing a newsletter explaining the election and how the bond would benefit the city. City Manager Richard Manning said residents should start receiving the letter about March 5. Manning said the city will also schedule public meetings were residents will be able to ask bond officials questions about the election.