Voters in Miami Gardens, Fla. authorized general obligation bonds.

BRADENTON, Fla. - Miami Gardens, Fla., got the OK from voters to issue the city's first general obligation bonds.

In unofficial counting of mailed-in ballots April 21, about 62% of voting agreed to tax themselves for the issuance of $60 million in GOs. Those who returned ballots represented 13% of the city's 67,000 registered voters.

Bond proceeds will be used to buy park land and make improvements, as well as to purchase and install crime prevention equipment throughout the city.

Miami Gardens had $168.2 million of outstanding debt, including principal and interest, according to the fiscal 2013 audit. The amount includes $116.2 million of certificates of participation. The city also has $10.65 million of outstanding stormwater utility revenue bonds.

The COPs are rated A by Fitch Ratings, A2 by Moody's Investors Service, and A-minus by Standard & Poor's. Fitch also assigns an implied GO rating of A-plus.

In advance of the election, the city hired Public Financial Management Inc. as its financial advisor.

Incorporated in 2003, Miami Gardens said it is the third-largest municipality in Miami-Dade County behind the cities of Miami and Hialeah.

Located between the Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Miami Gardens has 532 full-time workers, and is a member of the Florida Retirement System. The city has a population of 107,167.

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