Harris County, Texas, sold $230 million in bonds to refund previous issuances.
The county sold the bonds in two series. The Series 2023A permanent improvement refunding bonds mature between 2025 and 2048, yielding between 3% and 4.06%. The Series 2023A unlimited tax road refunding bonds also mature between 2025 and 2048, yielding between 3% and 4.33%. The securities received a rating of Aaa from Moody’s Investors Service and AAA from Kroll Bond Rating Agency.
“The Aaa issuer rating reflects a large and robust economy that has demonstrated resilience in various economic cycles including the most recent coronavirus pandemic, [and] solid wealth levels even though income remains below the nation,” according to Moody’s.
Harris County is experiencing both strong revenue growth and increasing debt service obligations. In fiscal year 2022, the county levied $1.9 billion in property taxes, including more than $250 million earmarked for debt service. Property taxes are the county’s largest source of operating revenue.
Debt issuances have kept up with revenue growth. Last November, voters authorized $1.7 billion in bond funding, including $1.2 billion to be issued by Harris County and $478 million to be issued by the city of Houston. Proceeds from the sale of the bonds will fund infrastructure, transportation, and public safety improvements, among other projects.
Harris County is the most populous in Texas and contains the city of Houston. The bonds are general obligations of the county, payable by property taxes.
Siebert Williams Shank & Co LLC served as lead underwriter on the issuance.