Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, sold $62.4 million in bonds to finance various capital projects.
The bonds mature between 2026 and 2048, yielding between 2.92% and 4.43%. They received a rating of Aa1 from Moody’s Investors Service.
“The Aa1 issuer rating reflects the county’s favorable location in the eastern portion of the state with proximity and easy connection to major cities on the eastern seaboard, a factor which has driven economic growth and above-average property wealth,” according to Moody’s.
The bonds will help bring Lehigh County’s emergency response into the 21st century. Proceeds from the sale will finance upgrades to the city’s analog 911 radio system, among other capital improvements. The new 911 system will be entirely digital and cost $46.35 million, according to the county’s four-year plan for capital expenditures.
The upgrade comes amid a national push to replace analog 911 infrastructure with a new, digital system. (Analog radios are more prone to failure than digital systems.) In Pennsylvania, 63% of counties have already upgraded to so-called next generation 911, according to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.
Lehigh County is about 60 miles northwest of Philadelphia and has a population of about 375,000. The bonds are general obligations of the county, backed by its full faith and credit.
J.P. Morgan Securities LLC served as underwriter on the issuance, purchasing the bonds for $65.7 million. The price reflected a premium of $3.3 million.