Whether we realize it or not, we rely heavily on our local governments to go about our daily lives. Safe roads and bridges get us to work, properly functioning sewer systems protect our water quality and keep our families healthy, and our local schools provide the building blocks of wisdom for future generations. My job as Treasurer is to ensure our local government leaders can provide these critical services and improve our communities at a lower cost.
Through the Ohio Market Access Program (OMAP), local governments can leverage the state’s excess liquidity and high credit rating to reduce costs on short-term borrowings. Standard and Poor’s assigns its highest short-term rating, “SP-1+” to OMAP participants, which indicates a “very strong capacity to pay debt service.” An “SP-1+” rating greatly improves the marketability of a local government’s debt, leading to lower interest rates and reduced borrowing costs.
The program is open to any government subdivision, including cities, villages, school districts, townships, and special districts. To participate, you must be issuing short-term debt with a term of one year or less. A qualifying subdivision also must be in good financial standing with the Ohio Auditor of State.
Prospective participants should first download the application online at https://omap.ohio.gov/apply. You’ll be asked to provide financial and credit information, as well as details about the proposed issuance. The Treasurer’s office reviews each application to assess the proposal and credit worthiness of the issuer. If your application is approved, the Treasury enters into a standby note purchase agreement with the issuing entity, where the state will back the notes in the event the issuer cannot meet the obligation. The approved application and standby note purchase agreement are sent to S&P, which analyzes the materials and confirms all essential program elements are met. If the elements are met, S&P assigns the note an “SP-1” rating.
Since the program began in 2014, the Treasurer’s office has enhanced more than 125 issuances for Ohio’s local governments, generating more than $2.5 million in total savings for taxpayers. Issuing entities save an average of 31% on their annual interest expenses. In fact, the first deal organized through OMAP was recognized as the Small Issuer Deal of the Year by The Bond Buyer, a leading fixed-income investment publication.
OMAP is just one example of how the Treasurer’s office is working with local leaders to build a stronger and more prosperous Ohio. The program gives governments a valuable tool for financing projects, reducing costs, and revitalizing communities. For more information about the program, please visit our website at https://omap.ohio.gov. If you have any questions, you may contact our office directly at 614-466-3511 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, thank you for your hard work on behalf of all Ohioans. We’re proud to be a partner with local leaders as we work to improve the lives of citizens in our state.