State moves to transfer $27M in unspent bond funds for debt service

TRENTON – The state today took steps to approve the transfer of approximately $27 million in unspent general obligation bond funds in order to pay debt service on bonds.

At a meeting that included representatives of the Treasury and Governor’s offices, the state also approved submitting to the Joint Budget Oversight Committee a request to approve the transfers.

Some of the unspent bond proceeds go back to the 1960s, said Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff.

“We did a lot of research to identify excess proceeds that weren’t being used,’’ he said. “This is a clean-up exercise. It was an enormous, exacting process.”

What the officials did today was essentially to approve the “de-appropriation’’ of the bonds from their original, intended uses.

These monies whose transfer was approved today came from eight different bond acts down through the years.

Sidamon-Eristoff couldn’t quantify how much more money eventually would be approved for transfer.

“It don’t know if it’s a billion,” he said in response to a question, “but it’s a lot.’’

The Treasurer began this process of trying to reallocate these old funds more than a year ago. A key aspect of the work was to make sure that legally the money could be used for debt service, he explained.

At the end of 2009, the state’s debt was $33.9 billion, third highest in the nation. As of June 30, 2010, the end of the fiscal year, the state’s bond debt was $36.9 billion.

State moves to transfer $27M in unspent bond funds for debt service