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City of Saint Paul's AAA Sewer Bonds Certified ‘Green’
The city continues to be a leader in its commitment to resiliency and protecting the environment
SAINT PAUL, MN – For the first time in city history, Saint Paul’s sewer bonds have been formally verified as “green bonds.” The city will issue these Sewer Revenue Bonds, Series 2023E (Green Bonds) with the independent second party opinion provided by Baker Tilly US, LLP.
The “green bond” designation provides investors with a verification that the city’s financing of major sewer repairs, stormwater quality improvements, tunnel rehabilitation, and sewer rehabilitation aligns with the International Capital Markets Association Green Bond Principles and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. The designation also provides investors with an opportunity to purchase bonds funding environmentally-oriented infrastructure improvement projects. As part of this issuance, the city implemented a Green Bond Framework that it will use to guide future green bond funding opportunities.
“Sustainability and green practices are core tenets of our economic development strategy,” said Mayor Melvin Carter. “These bonds being certified as ‘green’ is a testament to our ongoing commitment to the environment. We are hopeful this designation will attract more interested investors.”
The city recently launched its Climate Action Dashboard, which gives residents and investors access to information regarding green bonds and insight into the benefits of other ongoing city projects.
Saint Paul is committed to addressing climate change impacts in the community in an equitable and inclusive manner. Adopted in December 2019, the Climate Action & Resilience Plan guides the city’s work to achieve carbon neutrality in city operations by 2030 and citywide by 2050.
The city provides annual updates related to its “green bonds” on its Saint Paul Investor Relations website.
About the “Green Bonds” Designation
Since 2015, the city has annually issued bonds self-designated as green to complete sewer improvements, but this is the first time they have been formally designated by an outside party. Designating bonds as “green bonds” is just one of the many city initiatives supporting community resiliency.
Saint Paul was the first Minnesota municipal issuer to offer green bonds, and one of the first cities in the United States to issue green bonds with a par amount under $10 million.
About the Saint Paul Office of Financial Services, Treasury Division
The Saint Paul Office of Financial Services, Treasury Division manages all city financing needs. The city maintains an “AAA” rating for its sewer revenue bonds from S&P Global Ratings (“S&P”) and an “AAA” rating for its outstanding general obligation bonds from S&P and Fitch Ratings.
The Saint Paul Port Authority has successfully earned a LEED for Communities Platinum level precertification for The Heights, a brownfield redevelopment project slated to bring 1,000 new housing units and 1,000 living wage jobs to Saint Paul, Minnesota’s, Greater East Side.
This award was granted by the U.S. Green Building Council as part of its LEED for Cities and Communities certification program. Platinum is the highest level to be obtained and puts The Heights on course as the first project in the State of Minnesota and one of fewer than 55 communities worldwide to reach this milestone_._
“This precertification represents the Port Authority’s dedication to equitable and sustainable development. From day one, our objective at The Heights has been to bridge social, economic, and environmental investments to protect the health and wellness of those who live and work on the Greater East Side,” said Kathryn Sarnecki, chief development officer for the Saint Paul Port Authority. “Our next step is to find businesses that are poised for growth and share our commitment to sustainability to relocate to our light industrial parcels.”
A LEED for Communities Platinum® certification is achieved through a comprehensive rating system evaluation. To achieve Platinum certification, a minimum score of 80 points is required. The Heights received 87 points.
“After working closely with the Port Authority on this project, LHB is excited to see that the precertification score validates the work we’ve done on the front side and verifies that we’re on the right track with our plans for The Heights,” adds Rick Carter, chief executive officer for LHB.
Reflecting on these results, Asa Posner, vice president of sales, Sustainable Investment Group states, “Our engineers and LEED consultants have thoroughly enjoyed guiding the Port on precertification and are grateful to be part of the shared vision for a more equitable, resilient, prosperous, joyful, and sustainable community on Saint Paul’s Greater East Side.”
Developer Chris Sherman of Sherman Associates said he’s little more than a week away from finalizing a deal to acquire the 26-story Landmark Towers office building off Fourth Street, the first step toward a complete office-to-residential conversion that will create 187 new units of market-rate housing downtown, filling commercial space that’s increasingly becoming vacant.
In April of 2023, Environmental Finance awarded the Saint Paul Port Authority their distinguished 2023 Sustainabililty project bond of the year for the $15.9 million Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Project issuance.
Environmental Finance Bond Awards judges said that this project stood out for its "interesting" work on invasive species. Emerald ash borer is an invasive insect that has killed millions of ash trees throughout the eastern half of the United States, devastating familiar landscapes and demanding an expensive clear-up.
This award recognises the work of the City of Saint Paul and the Saint Paul Port Authority who partnered to issue sustainability bonds that would finance the replacement of dead, dying, or at-risk ash trees.
The project bonds will finance the replanting of new trees throughout the City of Saint Paul and support the city's removal of the stumps that were left behind from previous removals.
This will enable the Port and the City of Saint Paul to implement their replanting program, which integrates critical aspects of environmental and social sustainability in urban forest management to address the ongoing impact of humans on local ecosystems, as well as building greater climate resilience and reducing public health risks for disadvantaged neighborhods.
The authorities hope their bond program will become a model for other municipalities as they address similar issues.
Todd Hurley, president and CEO of Saint Paul Port Authority, says: "The Emerald ash borer project is a prime example of the Saint Paul Port Authority's commitment to economic development and job creation. We are thrilled to have been part of implementing a sustainable and equitable solution to a pressing problem that affects our community.
Trees are more than just greenery; they are the lifeblood of our community. Protecting them is crucial, and with this project, we're ensuring a better future for generations to come."
_* Saint Paul joins Los Angeles, California, and Vancouver, British Columbia in purchase of the Rosenbauer RTX electric fire truck _
Saint Paul, MN – Today, Mayor Carter and Fire Chief Inks announced that the Saint Paul Fire Department is embracing green energy to fight fires, becoming the first fire service in Minnesota to purchase an electric fire truck.
"We’re excited to be the first in the state to invest in this state-of-the-art fire truck,” said Mayor Carter. “It brings us all the critical green energy benefits of an electric vehicle, while meeting the high safety and efficiency standards we have for all our fire equipment.”
In 2020, Saint Paul Fire received demonstrations of the RTX from Austrian-based designer and manufacturer Rosenbauer, and again in January of 2023. Members of the department’s training division, apparatus selection committee, and vehicle maintenance personnel were impressed with the maneuverability, safety features, and functionality during these demonstrations.
“I was blown away by its overall performance and how quiet the rig is,” said Fire Chief Butch Inks. “Communication on fire scenes is important and can be extremely difficult, especially when six or seven loud diesel engines are operating in high idle.”
The investment in the RTX is in alignment with the City of Saint Paul Climate Action & Resilience Plan, which focuses on achieving carbon neutrality in city operations by 2030 and citywide by 2050. This work includes strategies to lessen the impacts of climate change through policy and regulatory actions the city can take to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to the changing climate, and improve quality of life in the city. In addition to furthering climate goals, this investment helps reduce diesel emissions and supports firefighters’ overall health and wellbeing.
“We take pride in our ability to identify and capitalize on opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, and improve city services at the same time,” said Chief Resilience Officer Russ Stark. “Because emissions from larger vehicles are some of the hardest to tackle, this is a big milestone toward realizing our climate goals.”
Rosenbauer has started the build process on an RTX electric fire truck for Saint Paul, with delivery expected by 2025. Final assembly of the city’s and state’s first electric fire truck will be completed at Rosenbauer’s facility in Wyoming, Minnesota, with delivery expected to coincide with completion of a new Fire Station 7 on the city’s East Side.
"The Rosenbauer RTX is the fire truck of the future," said Todd McBride, RTX Sales and Marketing Manager of Rosenbauer America. "With over 10 years of research and development, the RTX is built from the ground up using the most advanced materials and technologies. The RTX is the safest fire truck available - for firefighters, for communities and for the environment."
The City of Saint Paul is submitting federal earmark funding requests to support the purchase of the state’s first electric fire engine.
_*This release has been updated following the incorrect identification of Madison, Wisconsin as having an RXT model electric fire truck. _
SAINT PAUL, MN – Today, the City of Saint Paul announced it has received reaffirmed AAA credit ratings from S&P Global and Fitch Ratings agencies, including stable outlooks as part of a city bond sale process.