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    City Hall gets $100 million gift from Wall Street

    Investor demand for low-rated Chicago debt was so high in last week's big refinancing, taxpayers will save some money and Mayor Lightfoot's 2021 budget will benefit, too.

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    Maybe Chicago taxpayers should send Wall Street a thank-you note.

    Due to some highly advantageous market conditions, a big refinancing of $1.5 billion in city debt last week will end up saving the city an extra $100 million in finance costs in coming years, according to Chief Financial Officer Jeannie Huang Bennett.

    79彩票注册网址All the savings on debt that in some cases will extend for decades will be booked in 2021, Bennett said.

    Though some would prefer that income be spread over the term of the debt rather than taken in a lump sum upfront, there’s no question the windfall will give Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration a big leg up when it moves late this year to fill in the mayor’s 2021 budget.

    In an interview, Bennett stressed the penalty Chicago had to pay for its low credit rating compared to higher-rated debt—the spread—was the smallest in many years.

    “The city priced (the sale) at the tightest general obligation spreads in over a decade,” Bennett said, with the penalty generally under 100 basis points, or 1 percentage point, down a third or more from what it had been when the city sold debt a year ago.

    79彩票注册网址The city had expected to save $210 million in interest charges over term on the refinancing, and booked that into its 2020 budget, Bennett said. Instead, after the refinancing was complete, the city saved $310 million, with the extra funds to be counted toward the 2021 budget.

    79彩票注册网址Bennett said the good prices reflected "investor confidence in the steps the administration has taken toward improving the city’s credit profile,” including some spending cuts and the 2020 budget balanced (at least on paper).

    The city also gained from the current low-inflation environment. That’s prompted a surge in demand from investors willing to pay extra for relatively high returns in such low-rated municipalities as Chicago. In this case, there was so much demand that the premium investors got was reduced, meaning that city taxpayers will have to fork over less interest.

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