January 29, 2003
Mecklenburg County's Sound Financial Management Brings Low Interest Rate for Bond Sales
Charlotte, NC - Mecklenburg County sold $193 million in general obligation (GO) bonds yesterday at an interest rate of 4.07%. The interest rate is 82 basis points, nearly 1%, below the 20 Bond Buyer Index, which is the national composite rate for similarly rated governments. This is one of the most favorable interest rates Mecklenburg County has received below the 20 Bond Buyer Index.
The County also refinanced nearly $14 million of previously issued bonds. This will save the County nearly $800,000 over the life of the bonds.
County taxpayers received the best interest rate possible on these bonds because the County has been given the highest rating possible by the three major bond rating agencies. Moody's, Standard and Poor's and Fitch Ratings all gave Mecklenburg County a Triple-A bond rating for the sale of these GO bonds. The rating agencies also reaffirmed the Triple-A bond rating on the balance of the County's bonds outstanding.
"The rating once again reflects favorably on the financial integrity and management of debt by the County, despite rapid growth in population and capital needs," said Harry Weatherly, the County's finance director. "The excellent interest rates - as compared to the bond buyer index rate - will represent substantial savings in interest costs to Mecklenburg County taxpayers over the life of the bonds."
In issuing their ratings, all three rating agencies, Fitch Ratings, Moody's Investors Service, and Standard and Poor's, cited Mecklenburg County's sound financial management, diverse economic base and the sound manner in which the County addressed the withholding of funds by the State.
Proceeds from the $193 million bond sale will provide funding for land acquisition and construction of school facilities, community college facilities and park and recreation facilities. These bonds were approved in November 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2002 referendums.