Harris County, Texas, sold $211 million in bonds to finance projects that will help the county be more resilient to floods.
About $146 million of the bonds mature between 2024 and 2043, yielding between 2.7% and 4.02%. The issuance also includes a $65 million term bond that matures on September 15, 2048 and yields 4.15%. The securities received a rating of Aaa from Moody’s Investors Service and AAA from Kroll Bond Rating Agency.
The rating included “the county’s exposure to environmental considerations, offset in part by multi-level government funding for significant infrastructure investment to improve the area’s resilience and mitigate its impact to future storms,” according to Moody’s.
The issuance comes as cities across the United States aim to become more resilient against natural disasters, which experts say could get worse as the planet warms. The bonds issued this week will refund a previous issuance and help finance capital projects aimed at reducing the damage from floods.
Harris County, which includes the city of Houston, has a history of treacherous floods. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey flooded over 150,000 homes in the county, killing 36 people. The disaster also caused $125 billion in damages.
Since then, Harris County has instituted a number of measures aimed at preventing a flood from being similarly disastrous. One such measure has been speeding the execution of 250 projects backed by flood bonds such as this week’s issuance.
Mesirow Financial, Inc served as lead underwriter on the issuance, purchasing the bonds for $225.5 million. The price reflected a premium of almost $15 million.