Dallas: In Debt and Lovin' It!

I read this a.m. in my new favorite publication, The Bond Buyer (which I initially picked up because I thought it said The Bong Buyer), that tomorrow the city will issue $230.2 million in general obligation bonds "from three separate authorizations." Of course, that has nothing to do with the $1.35 billion bond package voters will likely pass in two weeks; these are bonds left unissued from November 2005, May 2003 and May 1998 bond elections.

Here's how the subscription-only Bond Buyer breaks it down for ya:

All $23.8 million of GO bonds dedicated to construction of a homeless assistance center and shelter, approved by voters in November 2005, are included in this week's sale.

Voters approved $579.3 million in GO bonds in May 2003 for streets, parks, and libraries, of which $440.4 million has been issued. This sale includes the final $138.9 million from that authorization.

The city has sold $435.8 million of GO debt from the May 1998 election that dedicated $543.5 million to work associated with the Trinity River Corridor Project. This sale includes $67.5 million of the bonds, leaving $40.2 million yet to be issued.

As for the timing, well, it's pure coincidence, says Noe Hinojosa, president and chief executive officer of Estrada, Hinojosa & Co., the co-financial adviser for the city. Hinojosa also says Dallas' estimable debt--which will leap from $1.4 billion in outstanding general obligation debt to $1.6 billion with the sale of the bonds tomorrow--is no problem, since investors see Dallas as a good, uh, investment. In the story, James Breeding, associate director at Standard & Poor's Dallas office, seconds that emotion: "The city is beginning to address its capital needs, which remain significant. The city's finances are doing fine, and with these bonds and the upcoming bond election it looks as if the city is going to turn things around after a decline. The city has seen sizable increases to its tax base with a rise in property values and higher sales tax collections."

In related news, I eagerly anticipate Casino Royale. --Robert Wilonsky


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