City sells $43 million in school bonds

Nathaniel Herz

The city sold $43 million in bonds Wednesday to finance work at Chester Valley Elementary School in East Anchorage, Sand Lake Elementary School, and create plans for a school in Girdwood, among other projects in the Anchorage School District.

Fourteen financial firms put in bids to buy the bonds, all of which were sold to the J.P. Morgan investment division of JPMorgan Chase, according to Chief Fiscal Officer Lucinda Mahoney.

The city will pay 3.3 percent interest on the bonds, Mahoney said, which is below what the Sullivan administration had projected when the bond package was presented to the Assembly for approval in September. "We had a fantastic sale," Mahoney said.

The difference between the two rates will save the city about $3.7 million in interest costs over the lifetime of the bonds, said Ross Risvold, Anchorage's public finance director. That's largely attributable to market conditions, he said, since the projections came at a volatile time before the shutdown of the federal government.

A recent upgrade to the city's bond rating by Standard and Poor's, which was announced Tuesday, may also have been responsible up to 15 percent of the savings, according to Mahoney -- though it will take more research to verify that number, she added.

Reach Nathaniel Herz at or 257-4311.