Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hailey awards bid on rodeo bond

City gets favorable AA-3 bond credit rating from Moody’s

Express Staff Writer

The city of Hailey got its first bond credit rating from Moody's Corp. last week.

City officials also found out Hailey will benefit from very low interest rates as the city moves forward with a $3.425 million general obligation bond to redevelop the rodeo grounds at the south end of town.

Bond consultant Eric Herringer told the City Council Monday that Hailey was given a AA-3 bond credit rating by Moody's, based on the projected ability of city taxpayers to pay back the money over the next 10 years and the overall financial management practices of city officials.

Herringer said unprecedented low interest rates, currently at 2.1 percent, will cost the city $300,000 less than he projected in March when he was hired to help the city put its rodeo bond out to bid.

On Monday morning the bond went out to bid. The city received eight responses. The bond was awarded to Robert W. Baird and Co. by City Council resolution Monday night.

Hailey residents voted in May to support a $3.5 million bond initiative that will increase property taxes $33 for every $100,000 in valuation for 10 years. The bond will pay for the city's promised share of a $6-$7 million upgrade of the rodeo grounds at the south end of town. The project includes a new rodeo arena, ice rink and visitor center.

Herringer told the council that AA-3 was a favorable rating compared with some cities of comparable size on the west and east coasts that have not fared as well as Hailey during the recession.

He said the bond credit rating for the state of Idaho was two tiers better than Hailey at AA-1. The rating for the Blaine County School District is AA-2.

"There is always room for improvement," Herringer said. "What you have against you is that Hailey does not have a diverse economy."

The bond will take 10 years for Hailey taxpayers to pay back, bringing $3.962 million with interest to the purchaser.

In other Hailey news:

· The Copper Ranch development in Woodside received a 180-day building permit extension. The project has stalled in the recession.

· The council voted to divert $3,000 in economic development funding from Sustain Blaine to the Hailey Chamber of Commerce for the fiscal year 2011.

Tony Evans:

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