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S&P boosts city's bond rating

 

Nathan Gregory

 

Standard & Poor's Rating Services raised its long-term rating on Mississippi Development Bank's series 2010A and 2010B special obligation bonds, issued for Columbus, MS to 'A+' from 'A' based on its specific criteria.  

 

Standard & Poor's ratings reflect its assessment of the following factors for the city - economy, finances, financial management practices/policies and debt. 

 

"Even though Standard & Poor's considers the Columbus economy to be very weak compared to the rest of the U.S. with a projected per person market value of $50,384 (other U.S. cities values are greater than $195,000)," Columbus Chief Financial Officer Milton Rawle said in a press release issued Tuesday.  

 

"In their opinion the city's budgetary flexibility remains very strong, with an available fund balance above 15 percent of expenditures for the past several years. Audited fiscal year 2012 general fund reserves were $5.36 million, or 25 percent of general fund expenditures."  

 

Standard & Poor's also stated that the city's budget performance has been adequate overall. In fiscal year 2012, there was a surplus of about 0.6 percent for the general fund. They also consider the city's finances as cash strong, the city's debt and contingent liabilities profile strong and the city's annual debt service currently low.  

 

"This means that over the past several years the city's available cash balance has increased substantially," Rawle said. "The mayor, city council, department heads and city employees have shown the citizens of Columbus that the administration is managing the city's money with a high level of excellence, and I am glad to be a part of it."

 

Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.

 

 

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