New Hanover County Wednesday expects to price $87.5 million of general obligation bonds for a community college and recreation facilities.

The deal includes $57.5 million of Series A tax-exempt general obligation bonds. The $30 million Series B will be offered as taxable recovery zone economic development bonds.

The bonds are rated Aaa by Moody’s Investors Service and AA-plus by Standard & Poor’s. The county will have $359.5 million of GO debt outstanding after the sale.

New Hanover is located along North Carolina’s southern coastline and includes the city of Wilmington.

The county has used its general fund balance for operating spending for the last two fiscal years and expects another operating deficit for fiscal 2010.

The trend “could have credit implications,” Moody’s analysts said in a rating report.

The county trimmed its workforce by 8% in fiscal 2009 and voters in May approved a 0.25% sales tax increase.

“Failure of the county to restore structural balance and to rebuild reserves is likely to have negative credit pressure,” analysts said.

Stephens Inc. and Davenport & Co. are the underwriters for the upcoming deal. Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP is bond counsel and Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP is representing the underwriters.

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