County earns A+ financial rating from S&P

Published 11:39 am Thursday, March 28, 2013

As the date for closing on a $2.43 million bond draws nearer, the Crenshaw County Commission has earned an “A+” financial rating from Standard and Poor’s Rating Services.

According to information from S&P, the rating reflects their view of the county’s “very strong” operating reserves and low overall net debt burden.

Even though the company said that Crenshaw County has “low wealth and income indicators” and an “uneven taxable assessed value (AV) trend in recent years due to exemptions,” the county was given the A+ rating.

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The report indicates that the county’s general fund has exhibited surpluses from 2009 to 2012.

“The stable outlook reflects our expectation that management will maintain a similar level of reserves despite uneven AV trends,” the report stated. “We do not anticipate changing the rating within the two-year horizon of the outlook.”

The Commission voted in January to move ahead with a $2 million bond, along with a $430,000 refinancing of a previous bond, to fund road work through the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program and Rural Assistance Match Program, in addition to other projects.

According to Louis Baxley, a banker on hand from Sterne, Agee and Leach, which is handling the bond financing, the anticipated closing date for the bond is April 22.

County Engineer Benjie Sanders said that the upcoming projects will require more geotechnical work, including subsurface evaluations and other testing.

“In the last few years, the state has required a lot more to get bridge projects approved,” he said.

ATRIP funds are not eligible for the testing, but the county can enter into an agreement to use federal aid funds using an 80-20 split.

The cost is estimated at $136,000 in federal funds and $34,000 for the county’s matching portion.

“I just wanted to get that ball rolling,” Sanders said.

In other business, the commission considered the possibility of hiring a new deputy.

Dozier police chief Terry Mears resigned his position last week, opening the possibility of the county having to take over coverage of Dozier.

The commission also discussed using some inmates from the county jail to pick up trash on the county’s roadside.

Several commissioners pointed out that some county roads have a large amount of litter and newspapers strewn on the roadside.

The proposal will be discussed with the Sheriff to see if the proposal can be implemented.