DALLAS - Wichita, Kan., is taking $108.3 million of bonds and notes to market today in a competitive sale, confident that investors will show strong interest in the city's offering.

The offering includes $29.2 million of general obligation sales tax refunding bonds, $20 million of GO refunding bonds, and $59.1 million of GO improvement temporary notes.

Brian Raine, assistant director of finance for the city, said today's deal follows a successful sale of $62.1 million of temporary notes and $49 million of GO bonds in January.

"All the bids we got on the sale in January beat the bids we received on the debt sold a year earlier," Raine said.

City Treasurer Shawn Jennings said the debt sold in January carried interest rates ranging from 2.79% to 3.5%.

The bonds are rated AA-plus by Standard & Poor's and Aa2 by Moody's Investors Service. The temporary notes are rated MIG-1 by Moody's and SP-1-plus by Standard & Poor's.

Kutak Rock LLP is the city's bond counsel. Financial adviser is Springsted Inc.

With the sale, Wichita will have $480.6 million of outstanding GO debt.

The preliminary official statement on the debt issue said Wichita would opt for a negotiated sale if the competitive effort was not successful, but Jennings said the city does not anticipate that situation.

"It's not a concern," she said. "Our current fiscal policy is that we must obtain a savings of at least 3% with refundings, and we expect to exceed that."

Jennings said with the GO refunding, the city should realize savings of approximately $3.5 million without extending the term of the bonds.

Raine said the city is always looking for refunding opportunities, even in times of market uncertainty.

"We found some refunding opportunities, so we are going to take advantage of them," he said. "It is all about the rates."

Proceeds from the $29.2 million of GO sales tax bonds will refund outstanding debt issued in 2002, with an estimated net present-value savings of 8% of refunded par. Proceeds from the $20 million of GOs will refund bonds from four series with an estimated savings of 7% of refunded par.

The deal is not part of Witchita's normal schedule of debt issues.

"We usually get to the market about twice a year, but this sale is different," Raine said. "The new bonds will refund several earlier issues, and this note sale is for new money, which was not included in the January sale."

Proceeds of the short-term notes will provide interim financing for infrastructure work and other capital projects. The notes will be supported by assessments from special improvement districts in Wichita, from the city's general fund as part of its pay-as-you-go financing, or converted into long-term GO debt when the projects are completed.

Located in Sedgwick County in south-central Kansas, Wichita is the largest city in the state with a population of approximately 360,000.

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