The Erie County Attorney’s Office has issued a Request for Proposals (“RFP”) to solicit applications from qualified law firms interested in serving as bond counsel for Erie County (“the County”). The selected firms(s) would be required to assist the County Attorney in all matters relating to the issuance of tax-exempt and/or taxable general obligation bonds and other methods of financing public projects, including tax anticipation notes, bond anticipation notes, and revenue anticipation notes.
“We are soliciting proposals from law firms to serve as bond counsel to the County,” said Erie County Attorney Michael Siragusa. “Issuing this RFP allows us to review the qualifications and rates of a large number of firms, which will enable us to make a selection that is in the best interests of the County. Proposals are due in the County Attorney’s office by May 21, and we will select a firm by June 8, 2012.”
The selected candidate(s) will be expected to furnish legal services to the County on an “of counsel” basis to the County Attorney. This can include consultation, advice, and document drafting relating to tax-exempt financing and the rendering of approving legal opinions for bond issues of the County. The successful firm will also be required to render advice to the County Attorney for projects under consideration, whether or not bonds are actually issued.
The County may also issue bonds through the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation (NYSEFC). Other County issuances, pursuant to a Project Financing Agreement, are arranged with the assistance of the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority (ECFSA). Additionally, under New York’s Public Authorities Law, the County may issue bonds for the capital projects of the Erie County Medical Center Corporation (ECMCC).
In 2011, the County issued $130,750,000 of general obligation bonds which included $17 million in County bonds, $25.3 million in refunding bonds, and $88.4 million in bonds issued for capital projects at the behest of ECMCC. Furthermore, in 2011 the County financed $15.7 million through the NYSEFC.
To date, the County has not issued general obligation bonds for the 2012 capital budget. Services for the issuance of 2012 bonds in an estimated amount of $24.2 million will be included in the awarded contract.
Information on the RFP procedures & requirements can be found at www.erie.gov/rfp