Dallas To Go to Market With Convention Hotel Bonds
By BJ Austin, KERA News
Dallas, TX –
This week, Dallas intends to place more than 500 million dollars in bonds on the market for the downtown Convention Center hotel. KERA's BJ Austin says the Mayor believes the timing it right. One local economist is not so sure.
Mayor Tom Leppert says city financial experts have been keeping close tabs on the municipal bond market, and have picked the right moment to price the bonds - aiming to close the 514 million dollar sale next month.
University of North Texas economist Dr. Terry Clower says bond investors and rating agencies are going to look very closely at the city's financial health - and the wisdom of issuing a large amount of debt right now. He says the city's sales and property tax revenues have faltered, and 900 city employees were just laid off to help plug a 190 million dollar hole in the budget. But, Clower says the recession and federal recovery efforts MAY work in the city's favor.
Clower: If banks are going to, in the second half of this year, start buying into municipal bonds and there is even talk about the Treasury or the Federal Reserve Bank, for one, buying into the municipal bond markets to help support government operations at the local level, then certainly that bodes well for the city to be able to place these.
Mayor Leppert calls the thousand-room, downtown hotel an economic engine for Dallas.