The Public Finance Authority (PFA) was formed By Local Government, For Local Government ™ to be another tool in the toolbox of local governments to help finance public benefit projects that are important to local communities without any risk to taxpayers. Thirteen years after the PFA was created, there are numerous success stories across the country, and I would like to take a moment to highlight projects that are providing public benefits and serving local governments nationwide.
NLC members might be interested in knowing that my fellow PFA board members are all either current or previous local government officials who are united by PFA’s mission of By Local Government, For Local Government ™. PFA is also sponsored by organizations whose members are local governments: the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities, the Wisconsin Counties Association, and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities.
There are numerous reasons local governments decide to work with PFA, but there is a long list of potential benefits to local government project partners on PFA’s website, including:
- Direct availability of Municipal Bond programs
- Serves as an immediate resource to assist cities and counties in accelerating local economic development by utilizing cost-effective financing programs, including a programmatic approach to a range of federally authorized finance programs
- Provides a voice for communities by requiring the elected body of a local government in which jurisdiction the project resides to hold a public hearing and approve the financing prior to the issuance of bonds by PFA
To date, PFA projects have occurred in 46 states, and examples of public benefit projects, nationwide, resulted in job creation, affordable housing, and infrastructure investment. These projects help contribute to the social and economic growth of our communities, and PFA is able to step in and provide help when state or local issuing authorities may not be able to serve eligible borrowers.
There are several examples of PFA projects that have acknowledged “without the PFA, this project would not have happened.” For instance, there is a great story in Wisconsin, highlighted on PFA’s website, that explains that PFA was able to help a rural electric cooperative that “serves 36,000 members/owners in 12 counties or 31,560 homes, businesses, farms, and schools” to “repair… infrastructure” after “horrible flooding” and “on the heels of the Great Recession.”
However, two NLC members – city of Fargo, N.D. and the city of Moorhead, Minn. – most recently were part of a PFA success story that earned “The Bond Buyer Deal of the Year” award for 2022 for the Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Area Flood Risk Management Project in North Dakota. As described in a PFA press release, the goal of this project was to protect “more than 235,000 people, along with their homes and businesses…” “…from the catastrophic flooding the area has experienced in past years.” It has also been highlighted that this collaborative project “set the template for the new federal P3 pilot program to address flood mitigation and ecosystem restoration.”
About the Author
Brian Dehner is the Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Edgewood, KY and serves as a Public Finance Authority board member.
Read more success stories and learn more about PFA, an organization known to be By Local Government, For Local Government ™.