The New York City comptroller's office yesterday criticized the state Legislature for failing to approve a bill renewing the city's ability to conduct negotiated sales of debt.
City Comptroller Elizabeth Holtzman said in a press release that the Legislature's failure to renew this authority "places the city's capital program at risk." She added that it is "time for the Legislature to give the city permanent authority for negotiated sales."
Despite Ms. Holtzman's remarks, city officials said they will likely obtain negotiated-sales authority before their next bond sale in October.
Ms. Holtzman also called on the Legislature to hold a special session to deal with this and other measures concerning the city's financial status, including technical corrections to legislation allowing variable-rate sales and a bill that for the first time would allow the city to sell foreign-denominated debt.
The 1992 legislative session ended Friday morning, with the Senate and Assembly unable to agree on a laundry list of financial bills. Those included deficit bonding Plans by the Long island, N.Y., counties of Nassau and Suffolk; Gov. Mario M. Cuomo's $800 million bond act to create jobs; and a negotiated sales authority for the city.
Yesterday, Senate and Assembly staffers returned to Albany to begin negotiations on these matters.
Each year since 1978, when the city first obtained the ability to issue bonds through negotiated sale, lawmakers have asked the city to renew this authority. City officials say the size and complexity of their capital program, which is the nation's largest, make it virtually impossible for them to sell most of their tax-exempt securities through a competitive bidding process.
Ms. Holtzman said the city expects to sell $3 billion of bonds in 1993.
However, a state legislative source said many lawmakers believe the city should sell more of its debt through a competitive bidding process to lower its borrowing costs.
One legislative source said the negotiated sales legislation fell victim to a political battle between the Democratically controlled state Assembly and the Republican-dominated state Senate over several issues, including the Nassau-Suffolk deficit bonding plans.