Monday, December 22, 2014

As Philly borrows another $1 billion

Behind last week's closed-door meetings

As Philly borrows another $1 billion

Philadelphia and key city agencies hopes to borrow more than $1 billion by selling or refinancing bonds over the next nine months. For all the city's growth around Center City, the colleges and the old Navy Yard, officials face some big challenges: the lowest credit ratings of the biggest U.S. cities; the financial near-collapse at the School District; the scheduled end of the sales-tax surcharge; arbitrator and court decisions that have mostly upheld city labor union positions and reversed Nutter administration cost-cutting schemes; a stalled real estate tax reform; stagnant net office growth; a lot of poverty in worn city neighborhoods; and more.

One of the city's proposed solutions: Invite big Wall Street and hometown bond sellers and buyers -- and non-buyers who might be convinced to change their minds -- to closed-door meetings with Mayor Nutter, his financial aides, and executives from Comcast, Citizens Bank, the major city universities and other nonprofits, in hopes this will soften attitudes and make institutions more likely to buy Philly's debt, despite its relatively low investment-grade ratings, at cheap attractive rates.

More about last week's meeting in my Saturday story in the Philadelphia Inquirer here.Though the meetings were private, finance director Rob Dubow and city treasurer Nancy Winkler have since posted the city's written presentations to investors -- compiling basic information and some cool data -- here. Previous coverage of the city's stealth financial charm offensive here and here.

Joseph N. DiStefano
About this blog

PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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