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MILWAUKEE COUNTY $73.5 MILLION GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS AND NOTES RATED 'AA-' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

 NEW YORK, Oct. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Milwaukee County's approximately $57.2 million general obligation refunding bonds, series 1993A, and approximately $16.3 million general obligation promissory notes, series 1993A, are rated "AA-" by Fitch. The bonds and notes will be sold through negotiation with a syndicate led by Merrill Lynch & Co. on or about Oct. 26. The credit trend is changed to stable from improving, reflecting the state's recent enactment of a county property tax rate freeze. The county's $385 million outstanding "AA-" parity debt is affirmed.
 Milwaukee County's economic diversification has left it less vulnerable to business cycles. Nonetheless, manufacturing remains a major economic force. Fiscal reforms show positive results to date and are expected to continue to restore the county's financial health. However, a property tax rate freeze recently enacted by the state could inhibit future financial improvement. The county's debt burden is affordable, and retirement is rapid.
 Under the new tax freeze legislation, the property tax rate for county operations cannot be increased above the 1993 rate without voter approval. The property tax rate for debt service is limited to the 1993 rate as well, unless the bonds were issued prior to the legislation's August 1993 effective date, refund bonds issued prior to this date, are approved by voters, or are approved by two-thirds of the county's board. In these cases, the tax rate for debt service is to be unlimited. This bond issue refunds debt sold prior to the effective date, and the notes were authorized by two-thirds of the board, resulting in their being unlimited tax obligations.
 Bond proceeds will be used to refund certain maturities of the county's 1992 general obligation issue. Tentatively, the Dec. 1, 1994, maturity ($4.625 million) will be defeased on its due date, and the Dec. 1, 2002-2011, maturities ($46.250 million) will be refunded to their Dec. 1, 2001, par call. Note proceeds will be used to prepay the county's obligation under a lease to the Wisconsin Preservation Fund (WPF) for use of a skilled nursing facility and alcohol and drug abuse treatment center. WPF will use the prepayment to refund a 1990 Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee, Wis., Development Revenue Bonds (Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex-City Campus Project) issue. All of the Redevelopment Authority bonds will be refunded, consisting of $8.370 million maturing semiannually Dec. 1 and June 1, 1993-1999, and $18.945 million (maturing value) in capital appreciation bonds (CABs). The serial bonds will mature as scheduled, and the CABs will be called at 102 percent of par June 1, 1998. The county estimates both refundings to produce $3 million in present value savings, 4.6 percent of the refunded bonds' par amount. Most of the savings will be taken in 1994.
 -0- 10/20/93
 /CONTACT: Amy S. Doppelt of Fitch, 212-908-0514/


CO: ST: Wisconsin IN: SU: RTG

TW -- NY075 -- 4652 10/20/93 14:12 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 20, 1993
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