VICKSBURG — Mayor George Flaggs Jr. has said several times since taking office he wanted to get Vicksburg’s bond rating restored in January.
He now says city officials may wait a bit longer.
“Even though I think we’re ready, I’m told that you do not want to apply unless you are ready to borrow money,” he said. “You don’t want to spend $1,000 getting a rating when you have no interest in borrowing.”
Flaggs said he wants to look at restructuring the city’s debt before moving to restore the bond rating. He also wants to wait until a committee on capital improvements presents its priority list. Flaggs earlier this month had department heads prepare recommendations for capital improvements in the city
The Vicksburg Post reports that Moody’s Investors Services pulled the city’s A-1 rating in February. In doing so, Moody’s cited insufficient financial information on the city’s creditworthiness because Vicksburg did not have completed audits for 2008, 2009 and 2010.
State and local governments borrow money through bonds for public works projects and to refinance loans. A city’s bond rating gives investors an idea of the city’s ability to pay off the bonds. Without a bond rating, governments are unable to borrow money.
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen this past week received the results of 2012 audit. It was the fourth audit performed by accountant Booker T. Camper Jr. in the past two years. Camper was hired by the city to bring the backlog of audits going back to 2009 current and in compliance with state law.
He completed the 2009 and 2010 audits in 2012 and the 2011 and 2012 audits this year. He and city Accounting Director Doug Whittington said the 2013 audit is expected by the end of April.
“We are now in compliance with the audits,” Whittington said. “This is great for the city. We have, I think, missed out on a couple of grant opportunities because of this noncompliance on audits. That is over with.
“We are free and clear to apply for any and all grants,” he said. “Also, it’s very important to mention (that) with this audit compliance, we are set and ready. Whenever the board chooses, we’re ready to get that bond rating,” he said.
BEFORE YOU GO…
… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.
If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.Click for more info