Washoe County plans to price $20.5 million of revenue bonds Tuesday to finance a minor league baseball stadium in Reno. The senior-lien car rental fee revenue bonds, secured by a 2% local car rental tax, received an underlying BBB rating from Standard & Poor’s Monday.The debt service coverage is relatively low, though it can sustain a 20% revenue drop, according to the agency. “If pledged revenues perform strongly and thus provide very strong debt service coverage, however, the rating could be raised,” analyst Ian Carroll said in a news release.Standard & Poor’s will provide the only underlying rating for the senior-lien bonds, said John Sherman, Washoe County’s director of finance. The county plans to insure the bonds, though the provider had not been chosen at midweek.The ballpark is slated to open in downtown Reno in 2009 as home to a Triple-A level minor league team — the Tucson Sidewinders — that presently plays in Tucson.The bond issue stems from a three-party deal that involves the county, the Reno Redevelopment Agency, and the team’s owners.The ownership group will also purchase a private placement of about $10 million of unrated, subordinate-lien bonds backed by the same tax.The county selected UBS Securities LLC to be underwriter through a request for proposals process, Sherman said. Public Financial Management and Hobbs, Ong and Associates Inc. are Washoe County’s co-financial advisers.
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