Lubbock about to go $1 billion in debt - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Lubbock about to go $1 billion in debt

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By James Clark - email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - For now Lubbock gets a clean bill of financial health with both good news and bad news on the horizon.  A bond rating company called Fitch rates Lubbock's debt as a AA+ just in time for the city to sell $148.58 million in bonds.  

The city also had current debt of $967 million so the city is about to go over $1 Billion in debt for the very first time. 

Before the end of the year the City plans to borrow yet another $92 million.  And, according to Fitch, there's more to come with a CIP or Capital Improvement Project

"The city's five-year CIP for fiscal years 2012 through 2016 totals about $410 million (excluding the electric utility). Approximately 90% of the projects are planned to be debt financed with self-supported debt mostly of the water, wastewater, and drainage utilities." 

In other words get ready for rate hikes, especially on monthly storm water charges.

Some bad news; Fitch says city's pension funding for retirees was impacted by "changes in actuarial assumptions." 

"Fitch believes that the pension obligations may apply some pressure on the city's resources over time."

Now, some good news; Lubbock's taxable assessed value for fiscal 2011 is $12.3 billion.  Despite a recent slowdown in new construction, Fitch says, "More than 60 residential and commercial developments are under way in the city." 

Lubbock's taxable value could go up by as much as $3 billion in the next 10 to 15 years.

Copyright 2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11.  All rights reserved.

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