SHAMOKIN - City council gave final approval Monday to refinance $1.8 million on three bank notes.

The move locks interest rates on the debt for the next seven years and reduces payments a combined $293,000 over the next four years and nearly $318,000 total until the loans mature in 2031.

Daryl Peck, the city's bond advisor from Concord Public Financial Advisors, said the locked rates will make it easier for city officials to create operating budgets since payments are set in stone.

"The existing rates were to become floating and become unfavorable," he said during Monday's monthly meeting of city council. "I think you're moving forward at a very advantageous time."

If the city hadn't restructured, $172,889.30 would be due annually until 2027.

Restructuring drops the annual amount due between 2013 and 2016 to $77,433.24, $107,423, $106,139 and $106,905. After that, an average annual savings of roughly $8,000 on the payments would be realized until 2027.

The city worked with Peck last year on a refinancing plan approved by council but ultimately rejected by a Berwick bank because of Shamokin's financial standing at the time.

The city's finances have since improved, and according to City Clerk Steve Bartos, Susquehanna Bank, Shamokin, is on board with the latest attempt.

Fate would have it that council's initial failure appears its gain as the terms of the refinancing are now more beneficial - lower rates and greater savings.

Peck acknowledged at the start of his comments to the board that all were aware of the plan, as it had been reviewed leading up to Monday's meeting.

Councilman William Strausser made that clear when he politely interrupted Peck.

"We understand. It will save the taxpayers money. I have no questions. I've been after this for how long," he said.

In other business, council:

- Voted to realign the fire bureau's command for 2013: Robert Wolfe, fire chief; John Klembara, assistant chief; Jason Zimmerman, deputy chief. The current fire chief, Bruce Rogers, will move back to battalion chief, fourth in command. The command structure is cyclical and rotates every other year.

- Accepted a petition signed by 128 residents to have a pedestrian channel device installed at Orange and Sunbury streets. Because the area is at a red light, Police Chief Ed Griffiths said it is likely ineligible for such a device.

- Appointed Charles Sosnoskie to the planning commission and Joe Rudy to the zoning commission.

- Adopted the first reading of a revised ordinance for dealers of antiques and secondhand goods that requires precious metals and other specific goods be held after purchase by a dealer for 10 days before it can be altered or resold.

- Tabled a motion to enter a contract with Xpress Pay that would allow tax bills to be paid online.