Innovative Bond Financing for Bridgeport
Balances Budget, Reduces Debt and Saves Millions
In late 2017 and early 2018, Pullman & Comley continued its long-term engagement as bond counsel to the City of Bridgeport and assisted the city’s administration with an innovative four (4) series financing that helped balance the current year’s budget, provides significant debt service savings in the next two fiscal years and saves more than $48 million of future city pension payments. The financing also generated approximately $35 million in funding for new capital projects throughout the city.
The City of Bridgeport led a team of professionals, including Pullman & Comley, in a fast-paced, multi-closing series of bond transactions. The transaction included two series of tax-exempt refunding bonds (including a crossover refunding), a new money tax-exempt capital project series, and a federally taxable series that was used to pay off the city’s unfunded pension liability due to the Connecticut Municipal Employee Retirement System (CMERS). The pension bond series was made possible through special legislation adopted by the Connecticut General Assembly during the 2017 legislative session. With the legislation, the city effectively reduced the interest it was paying on the unfunded liability from 8 percent to 4.56 percent.
In connection with the aggregate $194 million financing, the firm’s Government Finance attorneys participated in all facets of the transaction, including the adoption of the special CMERS legislation, the approval of the bonds by the city, the drafting of the city’s Official Statement, tax qualification for the bonds, and the securing of the bonds under the city’s existing trust indenture.