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Jeffrey Underwood, CPA
City of Bloomington 

City of Bloomington Announces Sale of Bicentennial Bonds, Upgraded Credit Rating

Bloomington, Ind. - Implementing the planned $10 million Bicentennial Bond projects, the City of Bloomington is announcing the opportunity to invest in a series of seven public improvement projects.  Starting December 11, residents and other individual investors may purchase Bicentennial Bonds, funding a series of major infrastructure projects enhancing the city’s amenities and public space.  

Commemorating the city’s two hundred year anniversary, the Bicentennial Bonds will fund projects deepening the city’s commitment to an integrated, sustainable multi-modal transportation system, extending trail connectivity, increasing the tree inventory, animating downtown alleyways, and establishing entryways to the city.

“In this our bicentennial year, we are enjoying the fruits of civic investment made over the course of our city’s history,” said Mayor John Hamilton, “so we want to pay it forward.  The decisions and investments we make now will help ensure that Bloomington is a place where a broad variety of people can live work, and play well into our next century and beyond.”   

Approved by a vote of the City Council October 31, the Bicentennial Bond projects will add seven miles of greenways and trails to the city’s transportation infrastructure, including an east-west protected bike lane on Seventh Street, a trail running west from Switchyard Park to Wapehani Mountain Bike Park, a bike-ped trail in Lower Cascades Park, and a hiking trail at Griffy Lake, both providing connections to existing trail networks.

Additionally, the bond will support the transformation of three blocks of alleys by the downtown square, the planting and replacing of 1,400 street trees (about ten percent of the city’s total tree inventory), and the construction -- with art and landscaping -- of four to six gateways to the city along major thoroughfares.

Sales of the new local municipal bond are being handled by Hilliard Lyons.  Although municipal bonds are normally offered in $5,000 denominations, the city has made special arrangements to make some of the bonds (Series 2018C) available in $1,000 increments.  The bonds are available at maturity dates every six months from August 15, 2019 through August 15, 2038. More information about purchasing Bicentennial Bonds is available at  

On November 30, after a positive review, credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s reported that it had upgraded the City’s General Obligation Debt Rating from AA- to AA, suggesting “a very strong capacity to meet its financial commitments.”  According to the S&P report, the adjustment reflects the City’s strong budgetary control and sustained cash reserves.  Corporations, including municipalities, rated AA typically see lower interest rates and higher value on the secondary market.  The City’s newly assigned credit rating should allow the City to realize lower interest costs for new debt and thereby decrease the cost to fund projects constructed with the bond proceeds.

“S&P’s increase of the City’s credit rating is a great vote of confidence,” said Hamilton.  “As Bloomington enters its third century, being in a strong financial position is essential to our collective well-being.”