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GFOA Newsletter
August 25, 2016
More Jurisdictions Issuing Green Bonds

State and local interest in green bonds has expanded over recent years. A recent example is the Upper Mohawk Valley Regional Water Finance Authority (Washington), which recently received a GB1 green bond assessment from Moody’s Investors Service for $8.78 million of water system revenue bonds, according to Bond Buyer. It’s the first GBA rating Moody’s has issued in the United States. The rating—ranging from GB1 for excellent to GB5 for poor—“is designed to help investors determine if green bond proceeds are being used to achieve positive environmental outcomes.”

“The Upper Mohawk Valley Regional Water Finance Authority bonds are to be issued soon to help finance an increase in the water system’s resiliency and the furtherance of its mission to provide safe drinking water to users,” Bond Buyer reports.

A recent report from Moody’s said that “global green bond issuance during the second quarter reached a new quarterly high of $20.3 billion, raising total volume for the first half of the year to $37.2 billion, an 89% increase over the same period a year ago. The U.S. accounted for about 22.8% of the second quarter issuance and 19.8% of first quarter issuance.” U.S. issuers in the second quarter were from Massachusetts, New York, California, Maryland, Indiana, Cleveland, Ohio; New Jersey; Rhode Island; and St. Paul, Minnesota.

GFOA has found that potential green bond investors have varying expectations for the market, and it is not yet evident that green bond designation results in a direct financial benefit to issuers. Standards should continue to develop as the market grows, and issuers must make sure they understand the costs, risks, and benefits before entering into a transaction.

Read “Going Green: Considerations for Green Bond Issuers,” a December 2015 Government Finance Review article by Mark Kim, for more information on green bonds for the public sector.

Association News
Connect with Your Peers at GFOA’s December Training Seminars in Austin

Plan now to participate in one or more of the following training seminars at the Hilton Garden Inn Austin DowntownDecember 5 to 9, 2016. Take advantage of an early registration discount when you sign up and pay in full by November 4, 2016:

If you register with three or more colleagues for the same seminar, you will receive 10% off each registration fee. (To receive the group discount, registrations must be received and paid together. The discount cannot be applied to online training registrations.)

Register today. Submit a training registration form or sign up online using GFOA’s e-store.

A block of rooms has been reserved for the GFOA attendees at the Hilton Garden Inn Austin DowntownClick here for more information on special GFOA group rates.

For ideas on what to do while in Austin, go to Visit Austin. If you have any questions about GFOA training, contact GFOA

New CPFOs Announced

The following individuals earned the Certified Public Finance Officer (CPFO) designation in summer 2016: Cynthia Thayer, Financial Analyst, Colorado Department of Local Affairs; and Susan Worrell, Chief Accountant, County of Albemarle, Virginia.

There are now 663 individuals who have obtained the CPFO designation.

Read More.
Jurisdictions Win Popular Annual Financial Reporting Award for First Time

Congratulations to the following jurisdictions for receiving the GFOA’s Popular Annual Financial Reporting (PAFR) Award for the first time: North Slope Borough, Alaska; Alameda-Contra Costa Transit, California; City of Fairfield, California; City of Moreno Valley, California; Costa Mesa Sanitary District, California; Modesto, California; Fort Dodge Community School District, Iowa; Johnson County, Iowa; Greenville Utilities Commission, North Carolina; Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, New Mexico; Delaware City Schools, Ohio; Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System, Oklahoma; City of Roseburg, Oregon; Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District, Texas.

Read More.
News Links
Public-Finance Start-Up Offers Chance to Sell Offerings Free of Fees

Neighborly, a public finance start-up, aims to make municipal bonds accessible and transparent, according to the firm’s website. The company’s strategy is to encourage local investment from millennials and others who wouldn’t typically invest in muni bonds directly.

A New York Times article about the firm notes that municipal governments in the bond market face challenges, while at the same time, America’s infrastructure is aging and “the need for state and local spending on road, bridge and building repairs is mounting. As a result, some states and cities have begun experimenting with new ways of pulling in capital, including green bonds for environmental projects; mini-bonds in lower denominations that ordinary investors can more easily afford; and more direct sales to individual investors.” The firm cites the success of the 2014 “mini-bonds” Denver, Colorado, sold in $500 denominations, indicating that it wants to produce similar small-investor triumphs.

Neighborly is currently offering municipalities the opportunity to sell up to $10 million of bonds on Neighborly’s platform, free of charge. Applications will be accepted through September 9, 2016, and five winning selections will be announced September 21, 2016, with issuance targeted for between the fourth quarter of this year and the fourth quarter of 2017. Interested municipalities can apply on Neighborly’s website, where they are invited to fill out information about their proposed financing. Ideal projects for the challenge would be those with a direct positive impact on the issuer's local community.

Read More.
Customize the Way Your Municipal Securities Information is Presented on EMMA

A customized issuer homepage allows state and local officials to take charge of information about outstanding issues is displayed on the Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website. Each homepage provides the issuer with a centralized view of trading activity, official statements, continuing disclosures, and refunding escrows for outstanding bond issues. A customized homepage also ensures that investors can easily navigate to information about a particular security and find contact information for the issuer. Watch a step-by-step tutorial or read instructions for how to customize an issuer homepage; the process is simple and takes just minutes.

For more information about EMMA features that allow issuers to consolidate, customize, and analyze their bond information, watch an on-demand webinar on the MSRB’s website. Continuing professional education credit is available.

Keep up with MSRB activities and new resources by subscribing to MSRB e-mail updates and following the MSRB on Twitter @MSRB_News.

Tips to Make Networking Easier

Most of us have trouble keeping networking interesting, at least on occasion. Part of that is being interesting yourself, and TheMuse.com has some tips to help you hold your colleagues’ attention by improving your small talk and emulating the most interesting people  in the room. “Not only will you make more connections, but those relationships will be easier to maintain and strengthen." The article suggests the following tactics:

  • Pursue interesting topics that have nothing to do with your career.
  • For one month, accept every invitation you receive, “no matter how random, unappealing, or exhausting it sounds.”
  • Provide fodder for interesting conversations by conducting some sort of experiment (for example, “cutting out caffeine, turning off your phone after work, or eating lunch away from your desk every day for a week”).
  • Listen to podcasts for “surprising stories, details, and facts” that will give you something to talk about.
  • Learn new facts and share the trivia.
  • Listen more. It allows you to learn more from the people you talk to, and you can share some of what you learn later.
Read More.
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Editor: Marcy Boggs  |  Executive Director/CEO: Jeffrey Esser

The GFOA Newsletter (ISSN 1051-6964) is published weekly by
the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.
Correspondence regarding editorial and/or business matters should be sent to
GFOA, 203 N. LaSalle St., Suite 2700, Chicago, IL 60601-1210. Phone - 312/977-9700 FAX - 312/977-4806.


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