North Carolina commission approves $1 billion in financing requests

Bonds

The North Carolina Local Government Commission approved more than $1 billion in financing requests from state agencies and local governments at its latest meeting.

The largest request on Tuesday’s agenda was from the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, which was given approval to issue $750 million of revenue bonds to be used to increase the state’s supply of affordable housing.

The HFA said proceeds from the sale will be used to buy mortgage loans or other mortgage-related obligations of low- and moderate-income homeowners.

The North Carolina Local Government Commission, which is chaired by state Treasurer Dale Folwell, must sign off on most local bond sales before they are issued.

N.C. State Treasurer’s Office

The commission, which is chaired by state Treasurer Dale Folwell, must sign off on most local bond sales in the state. The commission reviews if the amount that municipalities or authorities want to borrow is reasonable for the projects proposed and their ability to pay it back.

Additionally, the North Carolina Turnpike Authority got the green light to refund Build America Bonds that were used for construction of the Monroe Connector toll road in the Charlotte area.

The Turnpike Authority’s request will let it exit the BABs structure and avoid potential future federal subsidy cuts, while lowering debt service payments, according to the LGC.

There were no investor comments on the proposal, the LGC was told.

The authority is set to issue $184.07 million of Series 2024 state appropriation revenue refunding bonds. The deal, to be priced on Thursday by BofA Securities, is rated Aa1 by Moody’s Ratings and AA-plus by Fitch Ratings.

Proceeds will be used to refund outstanding Monroe Connector System taxable Series 2014 state appropriation revenue BABs.

Also Tuesday, Wake County received approval to sell $321 million to refinance bonds issued for school construction and public improvement projects.

Broken down, Wake County got approval for a $184 million refunding of general obligation bonds at lower interest rates that would save nearly $9 million in payments.

The county was also given the okay to issue $137 million of limited obligation bonds to refinance a bank installment financing agreement used to pay to build and renovate school buildings, and for equipment.

The city of Charlotte got the green light to sell $137 million of certificates of participation. Proceeds will go to improve and renovate government buildings, the purchase of a police helicopter, vehicles and equipment, and to refinance prior debt obligations for a savings of about $1.2 million.

The city of Wilmington got approval to issue $32 million of limited obligation bonds for multiple capital projects, including street, streetscape and riverwalk improvements, and construction of a portion of a sports complex.

Inlivian Housing got the go-ahead to sell $30 million of conduit revenue bonds, proceeds from which would be loaned to Poplar Grove Preservation to acquire a multifamily residential rental facility known as Poplar Grove Apartments for lower-income residents.

Cleveland County Water got the thumbs up to issue $12 million of U.S. Department of Agriculture bonds to make improvements to weirs, or low dams, to eliminate sand buildup that contributes to erosion of creek banks.

The LGC approved High Point’s request to issue $5.4 million of GOs to extend Samet Drive, which would open a new area for development.

The commission approved CarolinaEast Health System’s $45 million unsecured line of credit to pay for day-to-day operational expenses. The LGC noted the health system is experiencing cash flow problems due to a cyberattack against Change Healthcare, which disrupted its services. Change Healthcare is a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, which provides services to CarolinaEast Medical Center.

Separately Tuesday, Folwell noted, more than 100 municipalities across the state could miss a deadline for filing a fiscal year 2023 audit and that some municipalities have not submitted audits for two or even three years.

Session Law 2023-59 requires the LGC to send a notice to all counties and municipalities that have not submitted an audit report by April 1.

Counties, municipalities and utility districts that do not meet that deadline will be included on an updated Unit Assistance List maintained by the LGC.

If an audit report is not received by July 1, the LGC may direct a portion of the government unit’s sales tax distribution be withheld for up to two years.

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