The Belize City Council’s ambitious plan to improve infrastructure in the city with the cement paving of many streets required the launch of a $20 million Municipal Bond on July 23, but Legacy Fund, which had been advising the Council on the development of the prospectus for the Bond, has withdrawn from the undertaking.
Legacy divorced itself of any connection with City Hall in a recent press release stating that as of August 27, 2012, it was no longer a service provider for the Belize City Council with respect to the bond. It said the Legacy Fund has been disengaged from the project, due to an impasse with the Council over terms and conditions on moving forward with the municipal bond offering.
Mayor Darrel Bradley spoke regarding Legacy’s departure saying, “We are supremely confident that we will be able to launch our bond in the very, very near future.”
He said Legacy’s departure has not imperilled the bond or affected potential investors’ confidence in the bond program, just delayed the process for a week. He said that Legacy had fulfilled its part, in helping the council meet with potential investors, but their work was complete and the Council had elected to proceed without them.
He recognized that Legacy had assisted the council tremendously by doing a full forensic analysis of the council’s financial operations.
Linsford Coleman, the director of Projects and Research at Legacy Fund, had been at the Mayor’s elbow at a press conference where Bradley explained how the council would pay the interest on the bond, by introducing a garbage collection fee, assess property taxes and other revisions to the council’s financial management.
The Mayor noted that financial advisors the Central Bank of Belize had also offered their insight and direction, and the Council has in-house auditors who have been assisting with the bond offering.
The City Council has invited city businessmen to come on board by investing in the infrastructural improvements they want, but the business community has been tiptoeing gingerly around the idea of getting its feet wet, because the bond prospectus has yet to be published, even though Bond was introduced in the House of Representatives in late August.
Bradley said the prospectus is being finalized, but the process would take some time because it’s the first time any municipality in the Belize has offered a bond, in fact it’s a first for the entire Caribbean. He said they were just making sure they did everything right as the program would last eight years.