Adviser: Restructure debt and save money

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 17, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Adams County can save $325,000 to $400,000 a year for about three years by restructuring its debt, a financial advisor told the Board of Supervisors in its Monday meeting.

Financial advisor Demery Grubbs noted that with the impending closing of International Paper, the county &045; not including schools &045; stands to lose $600,000 to $700,000 a year in tax revenues.

&uot;You’ve got to adjust (expenses), … so we’re getting a head start,&uot; Grubbs told the board.

Email newsletter signup

Adams County now has almost $22.5 million in outstanding debt, including principal and interest, on expenses ranging from the juvenile detention center to road equipment to fire fighting equipment.

Grubbs said he looked at the county’s outstanding debts to see where refinancing could take place.

If the county takes on no more debt, it would be paying out $185,900 less in 2004, $61,000 less in 2005 and more than $380,000 less in 2006 to pay off debt.

But after that, it could expect to have to take on debt to pay for equipment that will eventually age and break down, like road equipment and vehicles, Grubbs said.

The $22.5 million also includes much debt that is so short-term or so recently refinanced that it cannot be restructured.

So Grubbs suggested that the county restructure three long-term debts: $3.9 million for the juvenile detention center, $3 million for the port and $600,000 for other public facilities.

In addition, Grubbs said he is talking with energy conservation consultants Johnson Controls to see the debt the county owes that company can be restructured, although he doubts it.

&uot;That (debt structure) is pretty locked in,&uot; Grubbs said.

At supervisors’ request, Grubbs requested permission earlier this year from the Mississippi Development Bank to consolidate the county’s debt.

On Monday, supervisors voted to authorize Grubbs to prepare documents necessary for restructuring, although he will revisit the board from time to time to update them on the matter.

In other business, the board renewed Cable One’s franchise for cable television service to Adams County.