Major W. Wilson Goode yesterday asked the Philadelphia City Council to postpone a vote on his plan to use $148 million of insured bonds for a long-delayed criminal justice complex.
Sources say the vote, which was delayed because negotiations on the deal are still under way, could take place within a week to 10 days. The council's session was slated to end this week, but it has been extended into next month to accommodate votes on several pieces of unfinished business.
The Criminal justice complex was scheduled to be built in 1986, when $165 million of Philadelphia Municipal Authority bonds were sold to finance its construction. Cost overruns under the original plan forced the mayor to abandon the complex several years ago, but not before $57 million had been spent and a giant hole had been dug on the site -- within view of City Hall.
The bonds were refinanced with a $170 million bond issue in 1988, secured by insurance from Financial Guaranty Insurance Co. About $113 million remains in the construction fund, but city officials say it cannot be spent on updated construction plans without violating the indenture.
Mayor Goode's proposal involves using the outstanding proceeds to defense a large portion of the 1988 bonds and sell a new $113 million issue that FGIC has already promised to insure, according to sources involved in the deal.
The proposal includes capitalizing two years of interest on the new bonds, eliminating more than $60 million of interest payments from the city's fiscal 1992 and 1993 budgets.
A second part of Mayor Goode's plan is based on refinancing a $35 million 1989 equipment leasing bond issue backed by Municipal Bond Investors Assurance Corp., which would use the same structure as the FGIC deal. MBIA has agreed to insure the new issue as well, sources involved with the deal say.
The combined issues would provide the city with $148 million, but the project is expected to cost about $224 million. The mayor is pinning his hopes fo rmost of the rest of the money on the state, which has a large construction fund available for municipalities trying to build prisons.
But council members reportedly are concerned the state will not come through with as much money as Mayor Goode proposes. Money from the state program must be used only for prison construction, and the mayor's plan also includes a courthouse complex. Council members have expressed concern that the state will therefore decide to pare the portion of aid earmarked for the courthouse, leaving the fate of the entire plan in doubt.
Mayor Goode has argued that hi proposal represents a unique opportunity to fund the construction at triple-A rates, which the junkrated city would be unable to do any other way.