DALLAS — Collin County, Tex., is coming to market next week with about $57.8 million of triple-A rated debt to upgrade various roads, build additions to detention centers, and refund some Series 1998 and Series 1999 bonds.

On Tuesday, the county plans to offer $41 million of unlimited-tax road bonds competitively and $16.8 million of limited-tax refunding and permanent improvement bonds through a negotiated sale with RBC Capital Markets as sole underwriter.

First Southwest Co. is the financial adviser to the county, which sits just northeast of Dallas and has experienced a population boom. Vinson & Elkins LLP serves as bond counsel.

County administrator Bill Bilyeu said the county chose to issue the debt in two transactions to achieve the most savings possible with the refunding component. All the bonds to be sold next week are structured as serials with a final maturity in 2028.

Standard & Poor’s assigned its AAA rating with a stable outlook to each tranche. Analysts said the county’s top rating reflects “substantial participation in the north-central Texas economy, continued strong property tax-base growth and diversification, above-average wealth and income indicators, sound financial management with high reserves, and very low direct-debt burden.”

Bilyeu said the county has an adequate fund balance of 190 days of operating expenses. Officials seek to maintain a fund balance of at least three months’ expenses, according to analysts.

Standard & Poor’s said another credit strength is the “significant corporate presence and independent employment base,” including the headquarters of several large corporations within the county.

Collin County also carries a Aaa rating from Moody’s Investors Service. Moody’s analysts have said the rating is based on the county’s large economic base that’s supported by a growing affluent population, prudent fiscal management, and ample reserves.

Next week’s issues exhaust a 2003 authorization and start the county’s five-year debt-sale cycle, according to Bilyeu. Voters passed a $328.9 million bond package most of which will fund transportation projects across the growing county.

Collin County’s population rose 86% between 1990 and 2000 and has increased about 50% from the 491,675 as of the 2000 census to nearly 740,000 residents currently. Officials estimate almost 100 new residents move into the county each day.

The county’s fiscal 2008 taxable assessed valuation of $68.64 billion is nearly 40% higher than five years ago.

“This incredible growth underscores just how vital it has become for us to expand a transportation system that can keep pace with these numbers,” County Judge Keith Self said in a release last year. “Our ability to continue to grow and to better our quality of life here is linked directly to finding ways to expand our roadways now.”

Some proceeds from permanent-improvement bonds will fund land acquisition for parks, and additions to the county’s juvenile and adult-detention centers. 


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