The Madison community bonds sale to raise money for renovations at Olbrich Botanical Gardens only saw 41 percent of the bonds being purchased.
The sale, which ran from Oct. 3 to 10, only raised $876,000, when $2.1 million in bonds were available for purchase.
David Schmiedicke, city finance director, said volatile financial markets during the sale period might have scared off potential buyers.
“Many investors, particularly the ‘retail’ investors that would typically participate in a community bonds sale, chose to avoid major changes to their portfolios,” Schmiedicke said in a letter sent last week to Mayor Paul Soglin and the City Council.
The unsold bonds will be included in the 2019 general obligation debt bond issuance by the city. Borrowing of $5 million had initially been earmarked for the $12 million Olbrich project.
The community bonds were sold in $500 increments, a tenth of the normal $5,000 increments the city normally sells bonds for.
Anyone could buy the bonds but they were purchased predominantly by Madison residents.
The city said $713,000 in bonds were sold to city residents, with $61,000 sold to Dane County residents, $13,000 to Wisconsin residents and $93,500 to buyers in other states.