Turmoil in the financial markets has temporarily put the brakes on a bond refinancing by Metro Government. The city is trying to get a lower interest rate on roughly $100 million in bonds, originally used to pay for construction projects at parks and schools.
Metro Finance director Rich Riebeling says as a policy, the city must save at least 3.5 percent to justify refinancing any debt.
“It’s all subject to market conditions, and because of the volatility in the market right now with the stock market and interest rates, everybody kind of up in the air, we want to wait and sit back a week or two, see how it shakes out.”
As for the city’s credit rating, Riebeling says he doesn’t expect the S&P downgrade of U.S. debt to hurt Metro’s standing, which is one and two notches below AAA, depending on the agency. The city’s $1.6 billion budget isn’t as dependent on federal revenues as the state of Tennessee, which has been warned of a potential downgrade.
For full disclosure, Rich Riebeling is a member of the WPLN board of directors.