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Front Page » Top Stories » Bond Funds Delayed While Officials Seek Buyers

Bond Funds Delayed While Officials Seek Buyers

Written by on June 16, 2005

By Suzy Valentine
Miami-Dade County officials now hope for a General Obligation Bond sale in July, a month later than anticipated, to finance the first $250 million in projects.

The offering is to take place July 7, said Finance Director Rachel Baum, with funds to clear by July 21.

County officials plan to meet with project managers to discuss how and when funds can become available.

"We’ll be meeting soon with representatives from the 34 municipalities to talk about those timetables," said program spokeswoman Paula Musto.

Earlier this year, officials had targeted this month for the first allocations.

The total allocation for each of the 13 county commission districts is $76 million at the end of 15 years. That accounts for $988 million, or a third of the $2.9 billion approved by voters.

Countywide, multi-district and unincorporated municipal service area funds combined with the costs of the bond management make up almost $2 billion in remaining funds to be issued by 2019.

The first round of $250 million of funding is split as $62.1 million for water and sewer services, $67.3 million for parks, $27.2 million for infrastructure, $24.1 million for public safety, $6.3 million for health care, $18 for public facilities, $15.7 million for housing and $29.3 million for arts and culture.

Of the first $250 million, $148 million is to go to the districts and $102 million to miscellaneous projects. Issuance costs account for $5 million.

Arts projects to benefit from the first round of bond money are Carver Theatre, the Wolfsonian, the Lyric Theatre, Coconut Grove Playhouse, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, the Cuban Museum, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Virginia Key Beach Park, MetroZoo and the Florida Grand Opera.

With 3.5 weeks until the Miami-Dade County Commission breaks for summer, only three of 13 commissioners have made appointments to a panel to monitor the allocation of General Obligation Bond funds.

County Manager George Burgess must appoint five people, Mayor Carlos Alvarez three and the commissioners one each to the 21-member Citizens Advisory Committee.

The committee’s job is to review the allocation of $2.9 billion in Building Better Communities funds approved in November. Allocation of $250 million in the first issue is to take place this year.

Commissioners Sally Heyman, Barbara Jordan and Javier Souto have made appointments.

"They’re trickling in," said Paula Musto, program spokeswoman. "We hope to have all of them in place before the commission goes on break."

The last meeting of the full county commission this session is scheduled for July 7. The recess is to run July 11-Aug. 12.

A General Obligation Bond Program Subcommittee meeting is scheduled for Aug. 16.

Mr. Burgess said last week that he hoped to have the committee installed by late August.