Local public officials enjoyed an informative evening at the Feb. 25 Great Neck Village Officials Association monthly meeting. The meeting featured a discussion on "Public Financing --- Obstacles and Opportunities." Leading the session was David E. Tanner of Liberty Capital Services and Richard R. Tortora of Capital Markets Advisors.
Discussing financing at the GNVOA meeting (l. to r.): GNVOA President J. Leonard Samansky, Saddle Rock mayor; financial advisors Richard Tortora and David Tanner; and GNVOA Vice President Ralph Kreitzman, Village of Great Neck mayor.
Liberty Capital Services, LLC specializes in financial advisory services to municipalities and public agencies. Capital Markets Advisors is an independent financial advisory firm with offices in Great Neck. Basically, both firms perform the same financial advisory services.
Before the formal discussion began, the role of the independent financial advisor was explained. Mr. Tortora offered this explanation for both himself and for Mr. Tanner. A financial advisor: has no financial products to sell (only unbiased advice); can assist with the selection of other financing team members; has in-house quantitative expertise; can run refunding numbers and analyze banker proposals); has in-house credit expertise; knows, and is known by, the leading bankers, attorneys, and credit analysts in the industry; and has a track record of providing to other jurisdictions a full range of services in connection with competitive and negotiated bond and note financings.
In making the presentations, both advisors assumed that those present had issued bonds and/or understood municipal bonding, and therefore the advisors spoke anticipating a sophisticated audience. The speakers discussed features of the federal economic stimulus package.
Mr. Tanner explained recent changes in the market, including increased credit (interest rate) spreads and yields for longer maturities.
Mr. Tortora gave a number of recent examples of municipal bond issuances and discussed larger than normal interest rate spreads that are being seen based on credit ratings. He also discussed a number of strategies that municipalities might follow, possible revenue generating ideas, and significant changes in the credit insurance market.
Mr. Tanner and Mr. Tortora also responded to numerous questions from the assembled mayors and trustees, and other elected officials.