The Texas Public Finance Authority will resume considering a master lease program early next year after the agency's new expanded board is seated.

Under consideration since 1989, the agency in July interviewed five underwriters bidding to establish a potential $150 million a year program that would be funded with tax-exempt bonds.

Glen Hartman, executive director of the authority, said his agency decided to delay further discussion until the new board of six members is seated in January.

"After the first of the year, we would pick it up at that point," he said.

The agency will not likely seek new underwriting proposals from five bidders, which are: Grigsby Branford Powell Inc. of San Francisco; J.P. Morgan and Estrada Securities of Dallas, a proposed joint venture; Lehman Brothers; Rauscher Pierce Refsnes Inc. of Dallas; and Merrill Lynch.

Mr. Hartman said the board must now decide how it wants to structure the master lease program, which would influence which underwriter it chooses.

The state expects an initial $20 million for a master lease program that officials say could save as much as $200,000 a year now paid in financing costs of lease or buy equipment from manufacturers.

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