CHICAGO – St. Paul, Minn.'s new investor relations website is making its debut in tandem with the competitive sale of $43 million of general obligation and revenue-backed green bonds set for Wednesday.
The city will take bids on $8 million of sewer revenue-backed, designated green bonds, $11 million of general obligation capital improvement bonds, and $24 million of GO public safety bonds. The triple-A rated city was the first in Minnesota to sell designed green bonds in a 2015 sale.
Springsted is advising the city and Barnes & Thornburg is bond counsel.
Ahead of the sale, the city launched a new investor portal at stpaulbonds.com. The site houses the city's latest financial information, bond offerings, ratings, financial contracts, and an events calendar.
"We looked at our investor page on our website and saw that it didn't get much traffic," city treasurer Michael Solomon said of the impetus behind the creation of the new website.
"With the website, we are looking to boost transparency by offering the public and investors a central location where they" can find city financials, he added. "We are looking to both increase transparency and drive more traffic to the website and expand our investor base" with both institutions and retail buyers.
The site is powered by Boston-based BondLink and houses more than 5,000 pages of data and documents using a corporate-style investor platform to provide easy access to the city's credit fundamentals, said BondLink's chief executive officer, Colin MacNaught.
Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings both rate the city's GOs AAA. S&P affirmed the GOs but the city was waiting on an new report from Fitch. S&P rates the sewer bonds AAA but had not yet issued a new report.
The GOs will finance various capital improvement projects identified in the city's approved capital budget through 2021, finance construction of a public safety training facility and police communication services and maintenance garage, and refund about $7.5 million of outstanding debt.
S&P said the GO rating reflects the city's "strong economy, with access to a broad and diverse metropolitan statistical area and a local stabilizing institutional influence; very strong management, with strong financial policies and practices …strong budgetary performance, with operating results that we expect could improve in the near term relative to fiscal 2015."
The city maintains a fund balance equal to about 18% of operating expenditures and has strong liquidity with total government available cash at 51.2% of total governmental fund expenditures and 4.7 times governmental debt service.
Fitch is its most recent report in November said the city's top marks reflect its "solid growth prospects, low long-term liability position, and strong revenue and expenditure controls. The rating also reflects Fitch's assessment that the city is very well positioned to address cyclical downturns while maintaining a high level of fundamental financial flexibility."