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Dallas Back To Market With $400M

DALLAS — Dallas will be back on its regular bond sale schedule with tomorrow’s three-part competitive sale of $400 million of general obligation bonds and other short-term debt. The sale includes $363.3 million of 20-year GO refunding and public improvement bonds, $31.2 million of five-year equipment acquisition contractual obligations, and $5.5 million of 10-year tax and revenue certificates of obligation. The 20-year GOs are callable after 10 years. The equipment notes and the certificates are not callable. The city issued the first tranche in June from a $1.35 billion bond package voters approved in November 2006 — $135.4 million of GOs. City officials said they issued about 10% of the authorized debt this summer to get several bond projects under way with the proceeds. Before the initial sale, the City Council adopted a schedule to sell the remainder of the 2006 authorization in roughly equal tranches every November through 2010. “We’re back on the November sales schedule,” said Wayne Placide, senior vice president with First Southwest Co., one of the city’s co-financial advisers. “That June sale got things started, but we now are on the official schedule. We will have sales of about $300 million in November over the next three years.” With the sale, the city will have $913.6 million of remaining authorization from the 2006 election. Dallas’ outstanding debt after the sale will total $2 billion. Moody’s Investors Service rates the debt Aa1 and Standard & Poor’s rates it AA-plus. Vinson & Elkins LLP and West & Associates LLP are co-bond counsel. Financial advisers are First Southwest and Estrada Hinojosa & Co. Although the debt going to market totals $400 million, the city expects to have almost $421 million in proceeds available. The total includes $15.6 million of anticipated premiums on the GOs, almost $2 million of accrued interest, and a $1.7 million transfer from the debt service fund for an earlier issue. The GOs will provide $304.5 million of new money and $76.7 million to refund portions of a $236.5 million bond sale in November 1998. “The portion we’re currently refunding are those bonds with call dates between 2008 and 2015,” Placide said. “We’re looking at present value savings of 4% or more.” Some $4.6 million of the $5.5 million of certificates of obligation will be used to bury large electric transmission lines along the Trinity River west of downtown so the Woodall Rogers Freeway loop can be extended across the river into West Dallas. The six-lane freeway bridge is being designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Hunt Petroleum Corp. has donated $15 million for the 1,870-foot iconic span, which will be named the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. The GO bonds will provide $91 million for parks and recreation projects, including $36.4 million of improvements to Fair Park, $23.8 million for a series of parks in downtown, $13 million for major projects at several parks, and $2.7 million for upgrades to the city zoo. Flood-control projects will be financed with $80 million of bond proceeds. More than $78 million of the GO bond proceeds are dedicated to street and bridge projects, with $30.4 million for thoroughfares and $21.1 million for the city’s share of several regional projects. Other projects being financed with this week’s bond sale includes $11.3 million of library upgrades, $7.8 million for new fire stations, $5.6 million for maintenance to city facilities, and a $3 million upgrade of the downtown farmers market. Remaining authorization from the 2006 bond issue includes $277.5 million for street and road projects, $219 million for parks, and $210 million for flood control. Proceeds from the sale of the $31.5 million of equipment notes will finance the purchase of 51 cars and 16 sport utility vehicles for the police department, 23 vehicles and three pumper trucks for the fire department, and 29 garbage trucks and 19 recycling trucks for the sanitation department.

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