Bonds and Referendums
The most recent voter-approved referendum passed in 2006, authorizing the sale of $68 million in bonds to acquire land, restore native habitats, and maintain and develop trails and other recreational facilities. Because federal tax regulations require that 85 percent of the funds from the sale of bonds be used within three years from the time of sale, the Board of Commissioners completed two bond sales. A sale in the amount of $34,770,000 was completed in January 2007, and a sale in the amount of $33,130,000 was completed in November 2008. This plan will allow the District to meet obligations while achieving a manageable balance among high-priority land acquisitions, habitat-improvement projects and the development of trails and recreational amenities. So far, funds from the 2006 referendum have contributed to the purchases of 360 acres at 14 locations.
In March 2012 Standard & Poor’s gave the District a AAA bond rating on a new debt refunding issuance and reaffirmed the District’s AAA rating on existing bonded debt. This was the third time the District was rated under Standard & Poor’s Financial Management Assessment, which is effectively a report card on the District’s financial-management personnel and practices. Under this assessment, the District has maintained its “strong” rating — the highest rating possible — which is defined by Standard & Poor’s as indicative of “practices that are strong, well embedded, and likely sustainable.” These high ratings were transferred into low interest rates as underwriters negotiated with investors on the bonds.