Walter Pierce

Bond sale paves way for improvements

by Walter Pierce

Lafayette Consolidated Government is wrapping up the sale of $62 million in city sales tax bonds which will fund two dozen road, drainage and other improvement projects. The sale comes following a trip last month to Wall Street by parish officials, whose pitch to bond-rating agency Standard & Poor’s led to an upgrade of the parish’s bond rating from AA- to AA.

The taxable bonds are Build America Bonds made available through the American Recovery & Reinvestment (Stimulus) Act of 2009, the terms of which will allow LCG to save more than $8 million in interest payments over the life of the bonds. "This is very low-cost borrowing for the city," says Lee Bressler of Morgan Keegan. Lafayette is the first city in the state to issue such bonds.

Nearly $44 million of the total derived from the bond sale will be devoted to road projects, the largest of which far and away is $13.2 million for an extension of Louisiana Avenue. Other road projects include:

â- $6.5 million for the Duhon/Robley extension
â- $6 million for upgrades to Pont Des Mouton Road
â- $4.6 million for an extension of North St. Antoine Street
â- $3 million for Erast Landry Road phase 2-A
Also planned through the bond sale are eight drainage projects around the parish totalling roughly $9.8 million, as well as $2.4 million for recreation improvements.