DALLAS - Oklahoma City will tap into the $835.5 million of 20-year general obligation bonds approved by voters in December with tomorrow's competitive sale of $67.6 million of GO debt.

The total includes the first tranche from bonds approved by voters in December 2007 and the eighth tranche from a $340 million bond package approved in 2000.

The sale includes $20.3 million of GO bonds from 2000, $40.2 million of GO bonds from the 2007 package, and $7 million of the $75 million of taxable limited tax GO bonds approved in 2007 that are earmarked for economic development incentives.

Kenton Tsoodle, finance business manager for Oklahoma City, said the approximately $14.6 million remaining from the 2000 authorization will be issued in early 2009.

"We have some projects associated with the 2000 bond package that are wrapping up, and we should complete that authorization next year in our usual spring bond sale," Tsoodle said.

The city expects to issue the remaining $788.3 million from the 2007 election over the next nine years, with the size of each tranche designed to keep the city's property tax levy at or below an average 16 mills, Tsoodle said. The current tax rate is 14.5 mills.

Oklahoma City will have $528 million of outstanding GO debt after the sale.

The city's GO debt is rated Aa1 by Moody's Investors Service and AA-plus by Standard & Poor's.

Bond co-counsel for Oklahoma City are Public Finance Law Group PLLC and Williams, Box, Forshee & Bullard PC.

Public Financial Management Inc. is the financial adviser.

Dennis Whaley of PFM said he expects strong interest in Oklahoma City's bonds due to good ratings based on the area's healthy economy.

"I see no reason why we should not have very good interest in these bonds," he said. "The city's ratings are strong, and so is the economy.

"Oklahoma City is doing well," he said. "The voters in December approved the largest bond package in the city's history, and just recently they approved a 15-year extension to a sales tax that will provide $120 million to prepare the Ford Center for the move of the Seattle SuperSonics."

The city's property tax base includes a market value of $30.6 billion and assessed values of $3.7 billion. Net taxable assessed value has grown by $241 million, or 7%, over the past two years.

The $7 million of taxable economic development bonds will help fund a variety of incentives for companies that will bring jobs to the city or add jobs to their existing operations, Tsoodle said.

"There are no right specific plans or projects right now, but we'll use those proceeds to establish a trust with a dedicated source of funding that can assist economic development," he said. "The city has developed economic development policies and guidelines that allow the trust to reimburse companies for their expenses associated with job creation."

Voters approved a separate property tax levy of up to 5 mills for the economic development bonds, but the first tranche will be supported by a 1.9 mill levy.

The sale of the tax-exempt GO bonds will provide $40.7 million for street improvements, $3.4 million for parks, $2.8 million for flood control, $2.2 million for bridge work, $2 million for traffic control equipment, and $1.8 million for public safety.

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