SAN FRANCISCO - The Nevada treasurer's office is soliciting proposals from bond underwriters.

Nevada's last underwriting request for proposals was conducted in 2006, said Lori Chatwood, deputy treasurer for debt management.

While Nevada's state-level bond issues have typically been sold competitively, there is a greater chance that the state may use the negotiated sales method if the market remains unsettled, according to Chatwood.

"With the volatility that's in the market now, with our financial advisers' advice, we'd use the most prudent method of sale at the time to get our bonds priced at a fair price to the state," she said.

There is plenty of time to sort it out.

"We don't have any immediate issues we're going to be going into the market for," Chatwood said.

"Right now we have a very small amount of bond authority available that we may issue late in this fiscal year," she said. "It depends on the timing of when the projects need the funds, and of course what the Legislature does."

State lawmakers are currently busy in Carson City with their biannual session. Nevada general obligation bonds must be authorized by the Legislature, though this year's session is dominated by a massive budget shortfall in a state among the hardest hit by the bursting of the housing bubble.

Gov. Jim Gibbons' budget proposal would cut state spending to $6.2 billion in the 2009-2011 budget cycle, down 6% from the previous budget.

The state has already implemented several rounds of budget cuts as revenues dropped. That has helped the state retain double-A-plus level credit ratings, though Fitch Ratings and Moody's Investors Service both assigned negative outlooks last year. Standard & Poor's retains a stable outlook.

Nevada also last year implemented a proposal from Treasurer Kate Marshall to tap a $160 million line of credit from its local government investment pool.

"We're just kind of on hold right now; we're keeping our eyes on the market, keeping our eyes on the stimulus package, and we're just letting the Legislature basically do its job," Chatwood said. Marshall "is very active in looking at other states, looking at ideas, anything that's out there that would be prudent for the state."

RFPs for the new underwriting pool are due Feb. 17. The pool would run through 2013.

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