Three New Jersey and New York counties will come to the market this week with competitive offerings to finance capital improvements.
Union County, N.J., after a downgrade from Fitch Ratings, plans to sell $100 million of general improvement bonds to refund bond anticipation notes that are coming due on June 29. The bonds will be offered competitively on Tuesday, with maturities from 2013 to 2032.
Bond counsel is Rogut McCarthy LLC.
The sale includes $62 million of general improvement bonds, $23 million of county vocational-technical school bonds, $10 million of redevelopment bonds and $4 million of county college bonds. The bonds, except the county college bonds, will be callable.
On Thursday the county, located in northeast New Jersey, also plans to auction $60 million of Bans to refinance about $30 million of outstanding notes and to finance various capital projects.
Fitch on Thursday downgraded the bonds to AA-plus from AAA based on a continued instability in the county's financial performance, resulting in a low current fund balance. The notes received an F1-plus rating.
Moody's Investors Service assigned the bonds a Aa1, citing above-average wealth levels in the county, a sizable and diverse tax base and proximity to New York City. The notes received a MIG-1 rating.
"A trend of structurally unbalanced financial operations that is expected to continue, given operating pressures posed by a subsidized hospital and tight property tax levy cap," is the basis for the negative outlook, Moody's said.
Standard & Poor's has assigned a AA-plus to the bonds and SP-1-plus to the notes.
In central New Jersey, triple-A rated Monmouth County is expected to sell $97 million of general obligation bonds on Wednesday to finance capital improvements.
Bond counsel is Gibbons PC and financial advisor is Public Resources Advisory Group.
Like Union County's sale, the deal includes county college bonds and county vocation bonds, which total about $9.5 million. The general improvement bonds total $77 million and the remaining $11.3 million includes open-space bonds and reclamation center utility bonds.
The bonds will mature from 2013 through 2027, and will be callable.
Fitch assigned a AAA, citing moderate debt levels, strong but weakening finances and a healthy economy, which benefits from the proximity to New York City.
Moody's and Standard & Poor's had not assigned ratings as of Friday afternoon, but assign triple-A ratings to the county's outstanding GOs.
Also on Wednesday, New York's Monroe County plans to sell $80 million of public improvement bonds in a competitive offering.
The bonds will mature from 2013 through 2031, and will be callable.
About $25 million of the proceeds will be used to retire outstanding Bans and $55 million will finance capital projects, including improvements for the Monroe Community College, county buildings, bridges and highways, and water and sewer facilities.
Bond counsel is Fulbright & Jaworski LLP and financial advisor is Capital Markets Advisors LLC.
With weak financial reserves and a dependence on cash-flow borrowing to fund operations, according to Moody's, the county is lower-rated than the New Jersey counties.
The bonds have not yet been rated, but outstanding GOs are rated A3 by Moody's, BBB-plus by Standard & Poor's and A-minus by Fitch.