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Tax-Exempt Municipal Leases Fund Urgent Needs For a New School Year

August 1, 2022

BusesOur Baystone team has been busy this summer helping schools across the nation finance mission-critical equipment and vehicles they need cost-effectively.

We’re seeing strong, continuing demand for technology financing as schools update and replace computers, software and other essentials. Transportation financing is near the top of the list, too, including increased funding requests for electric school buses and the infrastructure to charge them. Used school buses are also of interest, as prices seem to be leveling out and inventory levels are on the rise.

These are just a few equipment categories that must be addressed urgently as the new academic year approaches. 

Attractive Financing Option
While we can arrange different forms of financing to meet each division’s preferences and budget considerations, tax-exempt municipal leases are often an attractive option for acquiring school equipment.

Schools that tap into tax-exempt municipal leases for equipment funding enjoy multiple benefits. For one, this form of financing does not require upfront cash outlays. It offers much lower financing rates than traditional commercial leases and loans, by multiple percentage points in some cases. That’s an especially important consideration in 2022 given climbing interest rates.

Leasing also provides flexibility for upgrading or changing equipment as school needs, and technology capabilities, evolve. It spreads out the cost of equipment over its useful life so schools can access the equipment they need now, more affordably.

What’s more, financing can be arranged in a way that benefits schools when deliveries are delayed long-term due to supply chain issues that are affecting certain types of equipment. Our escrow accounts allow schools to earn interest while waiting on their equipment – offsetting the cost.

Contact us if you’re considering a tax-exempt municipal lease for school equipment. We have extensive experience in municipal leases, can “educate” you on how this type of funding works, and can finance your assets.

Electric Bus Rebates
The upfront costs of an electric school bus can be 3x the expense of a traditional one. We are financing more and more electric school buses but also want to make you aware there are government programs that may help defray costs. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Clean School Bus Rebates program has a fast-approaching deadline – August 19, 2022 – to apply for rebates to replace existing school buses with clean and zero-emission models.

 

Locking in Rates Today to Offset Rising Costs in Municipal Finance

May 10, 2022

ELFA Conference 2022Inflation and supply chain disruption were top of mind at our booth and other networking venues during the Equipment Leasing & Finance Association (ELFA) Funding Conference in Chicago in April. 

The event attracted some 700 attendees for the industry’s first live funding event since the pandemic. This was a good turnout of financing executives who seemed to appreciate the opportunity to discuss common challenges and solutions while reconnecting in person with some colleagues and friends only seen virtually since the pandemic began. 

The question is, how do we respond to our clients who are contending with hard-to-find equipment parts and rising costs? In the municipal market, much of the equipment is essential. The assets, ranging from fire trucks and police gear to ambulances and technology, are necessary for the safe functioning of cities, towns and states.

Government entities can’t wait for the pandemic to end and for different points in an economic cycle. And most often, their budgets are already set for the upcoming fiscal year.

The good news is that we can lock in today’s interest rates on equipment loans and leases, and we can finance used equipment. This is attractive to government entities that know they will need the equipment and can’t pay higher prices down the road. Even if they must wait for equipment to arrive due to supply chain delays, they don’t have to accept future rates that are likely to rise. They could establish a loan today and not pay anything until 2023.

While it takes a certain level of specialized knowledge to make the municipal market a comfort zone for business expansion, lessors and vendors often partner with Baystone to enter this market or to develop more opportunity in government financing.

With more than 30 years of experience and having funded over 32,000 municipal obligations totaling more than $3.47 billion, Baystone has proven to be resilient no matter the market conditions.

KS StateBank Baystone Government Finance can be a direct funding source, offering customizable payment plans and structures that require no legal opinion under $1 million.

 

Kansas District Upgrades Water Lines Now for Future Growth

January 20, 2022

Water FaucetKeeping the water flowing is the goal of an ambitious project planned this year by the Jefferson County Rural Water District #12, and that’s good news for homes and businesses alike.

More than 7,600 feet of water lines will be upgraded in an infrastructure improvement project funded by Baystone Government Finance, the municipal lending arm of KS StateBank. The much-needed project will take three months and cost $780,000, according to Denise Eggers, office manager for the water district.

The importance of a safe, reliable water system for families and commercial consumers cannot be overestimated, said Eggers and Aaron Lindsten, assistant vice president of KS StateBank. Water is a critical resource and continued maintenance of the infrastructure that delivers it is a must.

“KS StateBank and Jefferson County Rural Water District #12 share a clear purpose,” Lindsten explained. “We both pursue the commitment to provide outstanding service and dedication to our customers.”

The district has partnered with Baystone on past projects and this is yet another one that will have significant impact, Eggers said.

“(We) service patrons in both Jefferson and Leavenworth counties. The new/upgraded line is a main transmission line to supply the entire district with adequate water,” she said. “This line upgrade will ensure adequate water supply for current patrons and for future growth.”

Baystone is proud to be involved in the lease-purchase transaction for the district, according to Lindsten.

“This is very important to the community, and we’re happy to help the district help their customers,” he said.

Lindsten described Baystone as a “one-stop shop” for municipal financing with a professional team that can structure, document and fund transactions nationwide from start to finish.

“Baystone in conjunction with KS StateBank has been providing municipal financing since 1987. Our experienced staff of professionals can assist with any questions along the way,” he said. “This specific waterline infrastructure project is a first for us. We continue to work with water districts across the United States and provide financing for water trucks, water meters, water tanks and the construction equipment needed to keep their water flowing.”

 

 

School Safety Concerns Increase Technology Financing for Remote Learning  

July 28, 2020 

Written by: Brad Buhrow 

Remote LearningHow has the pandemic affected equipment acquisitions by school systems across the U.S.?

Here at Baystone Government Finance, we’ve seen an increase in large acquisitions of technology equipment, especially for Chromebooks, other computers and distance learning software. More K-12 schools are also specifically asking for tax-exempt municipal leases to finance their spend.

If you think about it, both of these observations make sense.

Technology Needs

Many school divisions anticipate a continuing need for remote learning. Some will begin their school year this way while others are preparing for a mix of remote and on-site learning. Schools that plan to open as usual will also want remote learning backup in the event that the coronavirus situation changes in their area.

Remote learning not only requires that all staff and students be equipped with computers, Internet access and the necessary hardware and software to make this happen; schools must also replace any antiquated technology that wasn’t up to the task last spring.

At the same time, municipalities are dealing with tighter budgets due to tax losses from the economic fallout of Covid-19. That’s a key reason why schools are taking advantage of the benefits of tax-exempt municipal leases when purchasing equipment. Municipal leases do not generally require upfront cash outlays, and they offer a lower cost alternative to traditional bond financing.

The trends we are seeing – increased technology acquisitions by schools and more requests for tax-exempt municipal leases to finance them – are in line with national reports we have been reading this summer from these and other sources.

Beyond Technology

As a division of KS StateBank, Baystone Government Finance funds all kinds of equipment and vehicles – from buses to laptops – for school systems across the country. We work directly with schools and also in the background as funders for other equipment finance providers.

One of the most interesting conversations we’ve had recently is with a company that manufactures a unique air filtration system for medical facilities. The company says schools are also inquiring about the germ-filtration capabilities of their product. So, in addition to the many equipment types we already finance for schools, Baystone is exploring other ways we can support school safety for those students and staff who are returning to work during the pandemic.

 

 

Tax-Exempt Equipment Leases Helping States, Localities with Budget Shortfalls

June 5, 2020 

Ambulance

State and local governments are facing widescale reductions in tax revenue from the economic and social effects of Covid‐19, while at the same time bearing the brunt of pandemic‐related costs. They are also dealing with increased funding challenges as some of their previous bank sources pull back from government financing. Given these new realities, an important question is being asked by municipalities across the country: how can we continue to acquire the essential equipment needed to keep our communities running?

Tax‐exempt municipal leases, also known as lease‐purchase agreements, will prove the answer for many. The benefits of tax‐exempt lease purchase financing are plenty. However, two considerable benefits include the fact that tax‐exempt municipal leases do not require upfront cash outlays, and they offer much lower financing rates than traditional commercial leases and loans – a difference of multiple percentage points in some cases.

Our company specializes in tax‐exempt equipment finance and works directly with governments and equipment finance organizations to help communities acquire the equipment they need. Recently, we have seen an uptick in demand for certain types of assets that are essential “in the now” for municipalities to address issues related to the pandemic, from equipment and vehicles used by first responders, to technology that supports the increased need for remote learning in school districts. All the while, equipment that was in demand before the pandemic continues to be important, including body cameras for police officers as calls for more transparency continue, and “yellow iron” equipment for construction and infrastructure projects underway. Adequately addressing these needs requires state and local governments to assess both the resources they have on hand, and that which they need to acquire.

While many municipalities had substantial cash reserves before the pandemic, the full economic effect of Covid‐19 is still unknown. Any relief the federal government may deliver will alleviate, not eliminate, budget shortfalls. Most state and local governments will be wary of spending down their cash reserves in these uncertain times. It’s far better to preserve cash for needs that cannot be financed as cost‐effectively.

Undoubtedly, municipalities will put some equipment acquisitions on hold as part of their cost‐cutting measures, but other needs simply cannot be postponed.

Budget Stress

The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association’s recent Washington Report noted an expectation that significant fiscal strain on states will continue this year and into 2021. “With an inability to run a deficit, states will either need to dramatically reduce spending or get assistance from the federal government,” the report said.

Just how bad could it get? Politico cited figures from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in May that estimated state budget shortfalls could climb as high as 10 percent in fiscal 2020 and 25 percent in fiscal 2021. Tax hikes, federal relief and cost containment will be a salve but no remedy.

“Moody’s Investors Service said last month that budget gaps are likely to occur even if states cut funding to local governments, increase taxes and receive more federal aid. After the 2008 financial crisis, Moody’s noted, states did all three — but still had to cut budgets on average 3.8 percent in fiscal 2009 and 5.7 percentin fiscal 2010,” Politico reported.

Localities also have a rough road ahead. A study released by the National Association of Counties estimates a $144 billion impact nationwide through fiscal year 2021, including $114 billion in lost revenue and $30 billion in additional expenditures. “County expenditures are increasing dramatically as we pour additional funding into health and hospital systems, justice and public safety services, human services, technology infrastructure and education,” the report said.

Tax‐Exempt Leasing 

Leasing options should become more attractive for state and local government essential equipment needs in the current climate as municipalities look to preserve cash on hand.

States, cities, towns, counties and other municipalities qualify for tax‐exempt leasing. So do their school districts and special purpose districts such as fire, parks, utility and water, and volunteer fire departments. Both personal property and real property can be financed on a municipal lease, including a long list of assets ranging from computers to recreational equipment.

While some municipalities may prefer to acquire such equipment through a tradition bond issuance, in many scenarios a lease purchase is the more attractive option. This is because a lease purchase can be entered into without external issuance costs associated with a bond – i.e., bond counsel fees – and without the need of voter approval as a lease purchase is not considered a debt of the municipality because of the non‐appropriation clause.

Finding Financing

While some large banks have been withdrawing from municipal financing in recent weeks, we remain committed to funding municipal transactions of all sizes, including smaller ticket transactions.

Over the last 30 years our motto has been “Together We Keep Communities Running.” We know the challenges our localities are facing and we are committed to our motto today more than ever. It is important for those of us in equipment finance to help communities acquire the essential equipment needed to continue providing the vital services we all rely on.

 

 

Together We Will Keep Our Communities Running

 Municipalities

April 1, 2020

Written by: Brad Buhrow

Whether you are with a state or local government, or a business serving their financial needs, these are difficult times. Municipalities are facing a new challenge – the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic – which they must confront while maintaining daily operations as much as possible and continuing to plan for what’s ahead.

We want to assure you that we are open for business and helping alleviate financial uncertainty for municipalities and their funding partners.

Baystone Government Finance continues to provide financing for state and local governments just as we have for 30 years, allowing them to use much needed equipment and technology while preserving their current capital. Over the years, we have refined our processes to best serve our clients and offer flexible payment options, straightforward documentation and fast credit decisions.

Both Baystone and KS StateBank have taken steps to protect our employees and customers, but we are still dedicated to your needs. Nothing will affect our responsiveness or quality of service to you. We’re fully staffed and accessible by phone, email and our website during normal business hours. While some of us may be working from our home offices, we are still available.

Timely and practical financial solutions for municipalities are still essential, now more than ever. Working together we will keep our communities running – and will come through this time even stronger. 

 

 
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