City reclaims A2 bond rating

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, June 21, 2018

The city of Vicksburg has retained its A2 bond rating from Moody’s Investment Services, a New York-based provider of credit ratings and risk analysis.

Moody’s continued the rating after a risk analysis of the city’s finances as part of an application to borrow up to $23 million in general obligation bonds for the sports complex.

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“This is good news for the city of Vicksburg that we were able to maintain the same rating,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said. “It’s kind of like your credit score; you score good, the cheaper you can borrow money.”

He said city officials will be going to the bond market sometime next week to sell the bonds, which will be used to pay the lease on the complex when it is completed, and will be paid with the revenue from the city’s special 2 percent sales tax on restaurant food and beverage sales and hotel room rentals.

An A2 rating means the city has more than a sufficient financial ability to pay off the loan.

When cities file for a bond rating, they are required to provide continuous financial information to the rating service, such as audit reports.

Bond rating services use the information to determine if the municipality will keep its rating. If the city fails to provide continuous and timely information, it can have its bond rating reduced or removed.

If a city loses its bond rating, it must reapply and risk getting a lower bond rating than it previously had.

That happened to Vicksburg in 2012, when Moody’s pulled the city’s A bond rating for failure to provide current audit reports. The rating was restored in late 2013, after the audit reports were brought up to date.

The city first got an A2 rating in 2015, when it planned to issue a $9.8 million capital improvements bond issue.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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