Howard County officials are pleased with interest rate on sale of bonds

Boston investment bank bid is lowest in memory

March 21, 2001|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

Howard County sold bonds yesterday at the lowest interest rate in memory, delighting county officials otherwise burdened with spring budget woes.

"We have wonderful news this year," Finance Director Dale B. Neubert told the County Council just before the members unanimously approved the low bidder on $34.5 million in county bonds.

Lowest on record

State Street Capital Markets, a Boston investment bank, submitted a low bid at a 4.311596 percent rate, lowest in the 18 years for which the county has records, Neubert said. The bid was lowest of 10 offers covering a narrow range, with the highest at 4.400477 percent.

Daniel P. O'Connell, president of Evergreen Capital Advisors, a Princeton, N.J., firm that worked on the county's sale, said the rate was nearly 1 full percentage point lower than bonds sold last year, which should save the county at least $30,000 a year in interest.

Referring to yesterday's meeting of the Federal Reserve Board, where the prime interest rate was dropped a half-point, O'Connell said, "We really think we benefited from expectations of the Fed action" lowering the rate.

"That's great news for me," Raymond S. Wacks, the county budget director said, adding that facing a $30 million gap between government budget requests for next year and expected revenues, it's the only good news he's had in a while.

The money pays for capital budget expenses, such as schools, roads and $4 million worth of heavy equipment.

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