UG offers new investor platform

by Mary Rupert

The Unified Government recently reached out to investors through the BondLink website, a resource that connects investors to bonds that the UG is offering.

With more than $530 million in outstanding bonded debt, the UG is hoping to reach more investors in order to get the most favorable interest rates on bonds, according to Kathleen VonAchen, chief financial officer for the UG.

She said the UG is most concerned about the bonds that are sold in the primary market. Once those bonds are sold, investors may sell them to other investors on the secondary market, she added.

It’s to the UG’s advantage to get the lowest interest rate it can, and that is helped by having more investors looking at it, she said.

“More than 1,000 investors are registered on the website, from all over the country,” she added. That includes investors for other pages on the BondLink website, not just for the UG’s page.

VonAchen said that the UG has had no problems selling its bonds, it’s just adding the website page to improve the number of investors.

The last bond issue was for the Legends Apartments-Garage project, in June, and there were seven times the number of offers from investors than bonds they could sell, she said. The more investors that put in a bid, the lower the price, she added.

“By adding our information to the BondLink website, all these investors can see our information and be potential investors,” VonAchen said.

VonAchen said there are a number of projects that could turn into a bond issue in future months. There were a lot of projects approved in the CMIP (Capital Maintenance and Improvement Plan), she added.

When the UG issued temporary notes for general obligation bonds in February, the UG paid 3.26 percent when they were sold, she said.

The $26.8 million community improvement district sales tax revenue bonds sold near the end of May had an interest rate of 4.63 percent, she said, adding that a sales tax revenue bond is considered by the market to be more volatile than a property tax-backed bond.

There is always the potential that people will shift to bonds depending on how they feel about the stock market, von Achen said. If more people want to buy bonds, that is good for the sellers including the UG, since the interest rate is reduced.

At the end of May, the Federal Reserve increased interest rates 1 percent. The UG does everything it can to keep its interest rate low, she added. In August, the UG kept its interest rate the same, and two weeks after it sold the apartment-garage bonds, the Fed increased the interest rate, she said. Some analysts expect interest rates to increase twice more before the end of the year, she added. (Analysts’ projections are subject to change.)

“The bottom line is we’re trying to keep the cost of our debt as low as possible,” VonAchen said. “Whenever there’s a chance to refinance our current outstanding debt to get a lower interest rate, we do it, so we’re always looking at it. That website has a wealth of information.”

The new UG page on the BondLink website is at

New Overstock distribution center to open in KCK will open a new distribution center at 5300 Kansas Ave. in Kansas City, Kansas, according to an announcement today. is a leading online home goods and furniture retailer.

According to a spokesman, about 100 jobs are expected to be created in the next two years at the distribution center.

The distribution center is not moving but is a new facility in the network, according to Ashlie Hand, vice president of communications for the Kansas City Area Development Council.

Outbound delivery operations are expected to begin in next month from the 517,000-square-foot facility, according to officials. There are also expansion plans for returns processing., founded in 1999, is based in Utah, near Salt Lake City.

“Selecting Kansas City as the home of Overstock’s newest fulfillment center allows us to offer over 99 percent of our US customers two-day shipping options, improving shopping experiences by getting orders into the customer’s hands as soon as possible,” said Carroll Morale, vice president of supply chain, in a news release. “We’re extremely thankful for all of the support and collaboration we’ve received from state and local officials and the Kansas City Area Development Council during this expansion process.”

“Kansas offers a great central location and the best workers in the country for any company looking to relocate here. We are thrilled that a successful company such as Overstock has selected Kansas City for its latest distribution center,” Gov. Jeff Colyer said in a news release. “Opening for business in Kansas will provide with an excellent strategic location and creates hundreds of well-paying job opportunities for Kansans.”

“We welcome to Kansas City, Kansas, and Wyandotte County. More and more companies recognize KCK as a leading logistical destination. We have a ready workforce, a great location both in the KC metro area and regionally, and a business-friendly community. We look forward to having such a great company as a new community partner in KCK.”

On this project, KCADC worked with regional partners including the state of Kansas, Kansas Department of Commerce, Wyandotte County Economic Development Council, Board of Public Utilities, Newark Grubb Zimmer, QPS Employment, Focus Workforce Management, Express Employment Professionals, IMKO Workforce Solutions and KC SmartPort.

GM Fairfax gives $100,000 to six Kansas City nonprofit agencies

General Motors Fairfax officials, representatives of nonprofit agencies, state legislators and Mayor David Alvey were present today for an announcement of a $100,000 donation to six community nonprofit agencies. (Photo from General Motors Fairfax)

Today, General Motors Fairfax Assembly and Stamping presented six Kansas City-based nonprofit organizations with $100,000 in Community Impact Grants funded by GM Corporate Giving.

Bill Kulhanek, plant executive director, and Dwayne Hawkins, UAW Local 31 shop chair, welcomed nonprofit leaders and government officials to the breakfast event. Kansas City, Kansas, Mayor David Alvey spoke at the event.

Mayor Alvey thanked General Motors for being a great corporate citizen, for its financial commitment to the local community and for the many volunteer hours contributed by the plant’s employees.

The GM Community Impact Grants Program makes possible a social impact strategy for GM plant communities that shows GM is a corporate citizen leader to their employees and in their local community, according to a company spokesman.

Kansas City Community Impact Grant recipients:

Blue River Watershed Association – $10,000
Harvesters – $10,000
KC STEM Alliance – $10,000
Social Impact Technology and Engineering – $10,000
United Way of Wyandotte County – $50,000
Veterans Community Project – $10,000

– Story and photo from GM Fairfax