Rating boost saves Calif. county on levee upgrades

MARYSVILLE, Calif. (AP) -- An improvement in Yuba County's bond rating will save local taxpayers $70 million on a project intended to strengthen the levees along the Feather River.

The county expects to pay $166 million for the project over 30 years, counting interest. That's down from the original projected cost of $236 million over 35 years.

The improved bond rating is based on the county's fiscal health, including the amount of its debt and how much money it has in reserves.

Yuba County will start repaying the levee bonds in 2015. Officials hope the housing market rebounds by then so the county can apply more developers' fees to the payments.

Six miles of new levees are being built to protect Olivehurst and Plumas Lake. That follows four years of improving existing berms.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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