Maryland sells $175 million in 15-year bonds

March 09, 1995|By Alec Matthew Klein | Alec Matthew Klein,Sun Staff Writer

Banking on its AAA rating, the state sold $175 million in bonds yesterday to pay for a host of projects, from prison construction to health center renovations. In the process, officials said, taxpayers saved money.

The 15-year general obligation bonds, backed by the credit of the state, were sold at an interest rate of 5.50975 percent, the lowest level since May, when Maryland sold $120 million in general obligation bonds at 5.36 percent.

"What that means to the taxpayer is, as long as we have a AAA rating, we'll get the lowest interest rate, which means less money to pay back, which means we keep the state real estate tax stable," said Marvin A. Bond, assistant state comptroller.

Major bond rating agencies have bestowed AAA ratings -- the highest financial stamp of approval -- on only a handful of other states, including Virginia, Missouri and Utah.

With the bond proceeds, Maryland will spend:

* $89.1 million for continuing state construction projects, such as the National Aquarium expansion.

* $10.8 million for public safety projects, including state prison and local jail construction.

* $4.2 million for health care center renovations and building.

Among various state and local projects, the state also has earmarked $3.6 million for water quality work and $2.6 million for higher education construction loans.

The bonds were sold through sealed, competitive bids to a syndicate of 64 firms led by Lehman Brothers. Several Maryland firms are involved in the deal, including Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc.; Alex. Brown & Sons Inc.; Ferris, Baker Watts Inc.; and the Chapman Co.

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