Birmingham, Ala., Mayor William Bell reportedly wants to ask voters for twice the bonding authority he originally sought, according to the Birmingham News.

Bell initially announced that he wanted to hold a referendum to ask city voters to approve $75 million of bonds secured by an existing, dedicated ad valorem tax to fund various capital improvements.

Last week, Bell said he wanted to increase the authorization to $150 million in order to spend half right away, and reserve the other half of the bonding authority for the future, the paper said.

Bell has begun a series of community meetings on his bond proposal. It is not clear when the city wants to hold the referendum.

Birmingham had around $490 million of outstanding bonds and warrants as of June 30, 2011. A public vote is required to issue bonds, but not warrants.

The city’s bonds are rated AA by both Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s, and an equivalent Aa2 by Moody’s Investors Service.

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