CHICAGO - Columbus, Ohio plans to put an $800 million general obligation borrowing before voters in November.
The city is holding a series of public meetings on the proposal throughout June.
Proceeds will be used to finance infrastructure improvements that are part of a new five-year capital improvements plan.
The top-rated city typically puts a borrowing on the ballot every three to five years. Voters in 2008 approved a $1.66 billion GO authorization that was the largest bond proposal in the city’s history. Voters have only said no to a handful of proposals since 1956.
As usual, the city has pledged not to raise property taxes to pay for its bonds. Columbus sets aside 25 cents on every $1 of income tax revenue to pay for debt service on its GO debt.
“Columbus voters have demonstrated their keen understanding of the financial savings in granting their approval to the city’s bond package requests,” long-time city auditor Hugh Dorrian said in a statement. “Columbus voters have approved every bond package the city has put before them for nearly three decades now ... I encourage our Columbus voters to join us, once again, in giving the city the tools to meet its infrastructure needs in a cost-efficient manner.”
Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings affirmed their triple-A ratings and stable outlooks on the city this week ahead of a deal to refund $350 million of Build America Bonds into general obligation debt. Standard & Poor’s also rates the city AAA.
A piece of the city’s unlimited-tax general obligation bonds maturing in 2015 were yielding 0.38% in early-May trading. according to the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board web site. Unlimited-tax GO debt maturing in 2021 yielded 1.8% in most-recent trading and bonds with a 2026 maturity yielded 2.37%.