Carroll to sell $53 million in bonds at 4.94% County takes bid of Goldman, Sachs

November 17, 1993|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

Carroll commissioners voted yesterday to accept a bid from Goldman, Sachs & Co. of New York to buy the county's general-obligation bonds at a 4.94 percent interest rate.

Carroll will sell about $53 million in bonds this year.

Of the six companies that bid to buy the bonds, the Goldman bid carried the lowest interest rate.

The highest rate was 5.05 percent, from Ferris, Baker Watts of Baltimore. That company bought the county's bonds for the last two years.

Carroll financial officials opened the bonds at the office of Alex. Brown and Sons in Baltimore yesterday morning. They relayed the bids to the commissioners.

Of the $53 million, $40.9 million will be county bonds reissued at a lower interest rate. The refinancing will save the county $1.18 million in interest costs, officials said. The bonds had been sold seven years ago with interest rates of 6 percent to 8 percent.

About $12.1 million will be used for capital projects, including a new middle school in New Windsor and numerous road improvements.

"The rate of 4.9 percent is very good. The market is volatile right now," said Jay Gede of Piper and Marbury, also a county adviser.

He predicted two weeks ago that Carroll would pay about 5 percent in interest.

The other bidders were:

* Merrill Lynch & Co. -- 4.95 percent.

* First Chicago Capital Markets Inc. -- 4.996 percent.

* Bear, Stearns & Co. -- 4.997 percent.

* Wheat First Securities -- 5 percent.

Carroll's bonds have high ratings from two New York bond houses. Moody's Investor Service gives the county an Aa rating, while Standard & Poor's gives the county an AA-.

Both ratings mean the county's bonds are of high quality and carry low interest rates.

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