Recognizing the inherent cross-over within our existing practice areas, and coupled with the need for specialists in financial legal services, Lozano Smith's Public Finance Group was formed by experienced attorneys specializing in public finance work, providing expert and objective legal advice on the validity of bonds, the tax treatment of interest on bonds, appropriate and adequate disclosure, post-issuance tax compliance, and record-keeping requirements. Lozano Smith also assists with legal services in related contexts such as bond elections, parcel taxes, developer fees, special taxes, special assessments, and special tax and assessment lien foreclosure.

Areas of Practice

  • Bond, Disclosure, Special and Issuer's Counsel
  • Proposition 39 General Obligation Bonds
  • Refunding Bonds
  • Revenue Bonds
  • Mello-Roos and Mark-Roos Bonds
  • Bond Anticipation Notes
  • Certificates of Participation
  • Lease and Lease-Purchase Financings
  • Tax and Revenue Anticipation Notes
  • Build America Bonds
  • Qualified Zone Academy Bonds
  • Parcel Taxes and Assessments
  • Developer Fees

Real World Applications

Our public finance attorneys are mindful both of the law governing bonds and of the historic customs and practices associated with public finance. Lozano Smith attorneys are nationally recognized as municipal bond counsel, as listed in the Bond Buyers' Municipal Marketplace Guide, commonly referred to as "The Red Book." Members of the firm have successfully delivered disclosure counsel services for a multitude of financings for a wide array of projects.

Combining bond counsel expertise with in-depth experience in school and community college district land acquisition, facilities planning, and construction, Lozano Smith public finance attorneys provide clients with a holistic approach - helping to take financing projects from conception of a facilities improvement plan through financing issuance and beyond.

Fresno, Bakersfield dbacigalupi@lozanosmith.com
Sacramento, San Diego dmaruccia@lozanosmith.com
Fresno, Sacramento, Bakersfield jbehrens@lozanosmith.com
Steve  Ngo Senior Counsel
Walnut Creek sngo@lozanosmith.com
Los Angeles, Bakersfield tsims@lozanosmith.com

Bond Insurers on Credit Watch

By:Daniel Maruccia, Sean Mick, Jennifer Grant -

June 2017 Number 30 On June 6, 2017, S&P Global Ratings (S&P) placed two of the three active municipal bond insurers, Build America Mutual Assurance Company (BAM) and National Public Finance Guarantee Corp. (NPFGC), on credit watch with negative implications. S&P intends to review the insurers and may adjust their assigned rating based on their competitive strengths or weaknesses relative to their peers. S&P stated that its review may lead to a downgrade of BAM or NPFGC...

All Local Agencies Must Adopt Debt Policy Prior to Debt Issuance as of January 1, 2017

By:Daniel Maruccia, Sean Mick -

December 2016 As Lozano Smith previously reported (see 2016 Client News Brief No. 69), on September 12, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill (SB) 1029, which requires all California public agencies to report annually on any debt sold on or after January 21, 2017. In addition to the annual reporting requirement, SB 1029 requires all public agencies to implement a debt policy covering certain minimum statutory requirements. Effective January 1, 2017, a debt policy must be implemente...

Appellate Court Reopens Door for Level 3 Fees

By:Harold Freiman, Kelly Rem -

November 2016 A California court decision has cleared the way for eligible school districts to begin charging Level 3 developer fees to fund new school construction. The Third District Court of Appeal had previously issued a "stay," or a legal hold, on a decision from the Sacramento County Superior Court that would allow eligible districts to collect Level 3 fees. On November 1, 2016, the court denied a request from the California Building Industry (CBIA) to continue the stay. Immediate...

Public Finance Legislative Roundup

By:Daniel Maruccia, Sean Mick -

October 2016 Number 69 In August and September 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed three Assembly bills and one Senate bill related to public finance, including bills regarding K-14 school districts' general obligation bonds and school district parcel taxes. The specifics of each bill are described below. Assembly Bill (AB) 2116: Requirement to Obtain Reasonable and Informed Projections of Assessed Valuations Prior to Ordering a Bond Election Some critics have complained that too o...

California Supreme Court Refuses to Review Court of Appeal Decision Barring Parcel Tax Challenge Filed after Expiration of Period for Reverse Validation Action

By:Daniel Maruccia -

April 2016 Number 22 The California Supreme Court recently denied a petition for review of the Court of Appeal's decision in Golden Gate Development Company, Inc. v. County of Alameda, et al. (2015) 242 Cal.App.4th 760. As a result, the holdings in Golden Gate Development remain undisturbed, including that: (1) a reverse validation action is the proper procedure for challenging a parcel tax; and (2) such action must be brought within 60 days of passage of the parcel tax measure. In Feb...

School Districts and Community Colleges May Not Pay for Pre-Election Services with Bond Proceeds

By:Daniel Maruccia, Sean Mick -

February 2016 Number 4 In light of a recent Attorney General opinion, school districts and community colleges are advised to examine their contracts with municipal finance firms for their planned future bond elections and post-election issuance services, particularly where the agency will pay for such services on a contingency basis. According to Attorney General Kamala Harris, in her Opinion No. 13-304, released January 26, 2016, a school or community college district violates California...

Public Agencies May Not Withhold Retention Without A Dispute Regarding Contractor Performance

By:Megan Macy, Sean Mick -

February 2015Number 10In light of a recent court of appeal decision, all public agencies are cautioned to examine carefully their retention practices at project closeout. The court in FTR International, Inc. v. Rio School Dist. (Jan. 27, 2015) 2015 Cal.App.Lexis 68, concluded that a dispute over the contract price does not entitle a public agency to withhold funds due to the prime contractor. In the event of a dispute, a public entity may only withhold funds from retention as security against...