Union County is expected to sell $140.8 million of general obligation bonds in two sales over the next two weeks as it aims to steer away from variable-rate debt.

The county on Wednesday plans to competitively sell $64.5 million of new-money GO school bonds. Proceeds will finance completion of several school facilities. The GOs range in maturity from one to 20 years.

The Series 2009 bonds are rated Aa2 by Moody’s Investors Service. The rating also applies to the county’s $353.8 million of outstanding GOs. Moody’s also rates $107.4 million of certificates of participation Aa3.

Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP will serve as bond counsel and First Southwest Co. will be financial adviser.

On Feb. 24, Union expects to sell $76.3 million of fixed-rate refunding GOs to eliminate its outstanding variable-rate exposure.

Finance director Kai Nelson said the county wants to get “more conservative” with its debt financing by issuing fixed-rate and refunding variable-rate debt. “The long-term plan is to exit the variable market,” he said.

Following the refunding of the 2005 variable-rate debt, the county will have approximately $193 million of outstanding property tax-backed debt as variable rate.

No other ratings had been released by press time. In December, Fitch Ratings confirmed a rating of AA and F1-plus on the county’s variable-rate GOs from 2007.

Union’s population boom could help the county achieve its financing goals, Moody’s said, noting that Union has experienced the highest levels of population growth of any North Carolina county.

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