A delay in the selection of New York City's general obligation bond syndicate has sparked concern among some city officials who say the appointments must come soon if the city is to complete a bond sale by its midNovember deadline.
At the moment, officials working for Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and those representing city Comptroller Alan Hevesi have largely agreed on the four senior managers for the GO syndicate, but remain at odds over the composition of the syndicate's management group.
The selection of bond underwriters is completed jointly by city hall and the comptroller's office. While the two sides hash out their differences, time is running out on the city's ability to issue bonds with a planned mid-November closing date.
City officials say they need capital budget money by mid-November, and must price a bond deal by the first of the month.
"As a practical matter, things would have to fall into place next week," a city finance official said.
The city pays for capital projects using money from its general fund budget. As a result, the city must have its underwriters selected early next week in order to replace this money by the mid-November deadline.
City officials say they will issue between $800 million and $1 billion of GOs. The deal will mark the city's first new-money transaction since March, and will feature between $100 million and $200 million in taxable debt.
Neither Giuliani nor Hevesi have formally agreed on the composition of the financing team, but staff members say the senior management slots on the GO syndicate are all but confirmed.
City officials, speaking on a not-for-attribution basis, say the city may announce its underwriting team early next week when the mayor presents changes to the city's financial plan.
On Monday, Giuliani is expected to announce more than $1 billion in cuts and other measures to balance the city's fiscal 1995 budget.
City sources confirm that Giuliani's staff and Hevesi's staff have tentatively agreed on the selection of Goldman, Sachs & Co., J.P. Morgan & Co., Prudential Securities Inc., and Merrill Lynch & Co., as senior managers on the GO syndicate.
The city has yet to agree on which fares to include in a special underwriting bracket of the GO syndicate. The special bracket will carry more seniority than the city's co-management group, but less than the senior managers.
According to municipal market sources, firms competing for the special bracket include Artemis Capital Group, a woman-owned firm, and M.R. Beal & Co. and WR Lazard Laidlaw & Mead, both minority-owned firms.
Wall Street sources say the battle appears to be over the selection of Beal, with the mayor's staff supporting the firm's selection and the comptroller's staff opposing it. Leah Johnson, a spokeswoman for the comptroller's office, could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, the city's Water Authority on Wednesday sold $200 million of commercial paper through Lehman Brothers. The issue marked the authority's first commercial paper sale and paid an interest rate of 3.20%.
The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce provided a letter of credit on the issue, which matures in 45 days. J.P. Morgan will underwrite the authority's second commercial paper issue.