DALLAS — The Louisiana State Bond Commission will meet July 21 with four firms seeking to become the state’s next financial adviser.

Commissioners decided Thursday to interview representatives of Davenport & Co., Lamont Financial Services Corp., Montague DeRose and Associates LLC, and Public Resources Advisory Group at the July session.

The successful applicant will replace long-time financial adviser Government Finance Associates Inc. Principals Freda Johnson and Chester Johnson are retiring and ending their tenure with the state at the end of July.

Proposals seeking the position were also submitted by First Southwest Co. and the PFM Group. However, commission director Whit Kling said those firms did not provide the requested fee information.

The failure to include the billing details as requested eliminated First Southwest and PFM from consideration, Kling said.

“The mandatory parameters in the request for proposals asked for all-in costs with a blended hourly rate,” Kling said. “Those two did not do that, and we regarded that as non-responsive.”

The request for proposals was published in The Bond Buyer, Kling said, and sent to advisory firms listed in The Bond Buyer’s Municipal Marketplace Directory.

Bond Commission chairman and state Treasurer John Kennedy suggested that the top three proposals be considered, but the commission opted to hear presentations from all four.

Kennedy and Kling were given authority by the commission to select bond counsel, underwriters, and other professional services for a possible state general obligation bond defeasance effort.

Kennedy said the refunding issue was requested as an option by the Senate Finance Committee. The refunding using one-time revenues could help reduce debt service costs in the fiscal 2012 budget now being considered by the Legislature, he said.

Kennedy called the proposal a “place-holding” resolution for an issue that would have to go to market by the end of June. He said the size of the issue has not been determined.

Kling said the long-term savings probably would be minimal, but the proposal would produce sufficient short-term savings to be feasible.

Commissioners also authorized a total of $100 million of Gulf Opportunity Zone bonds for two projects. The authorizations had been awarded earlier to other applicants but returned when the bonds were not issued within the specified period.

The awards included $70 million of GO Zone bonds for an office building at Baton Rouge General Medical Center to be issued by the Louisiana Community Development Authority. Another $30 million went to construction of a bulk marine terminal in Ascension Parish.

Kling said the state currently has $10 million of GO Zone bond capacity in hand after the $100 million of allocations. The non-taxable private-activity bond program will expire at the end of 2011.

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