County paying off interfund loans

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 6, 2010

NATCHEZ — By reorganizing funds, Adams County is working to improve its version of a credit score.

Moody’s Investment Services currently ranks Adams County at a bond rating of Ba1, which is considered a “questionable credit quality.” County officials hope to climb back to Baa2, which would improve interest rates to the point that taking out bonds would be viable, District 4 Supervisor and Board President Darryl Grennell said.

Chancery Clerk Tommy O’Beirne said paying off the county’s interfund loans is one step toward getting a $6 million road bond the county hopes to take out in a few months.

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An interfund loan occurs when the county pulls money from one fund to another, such as moving money from the road fund to the general fund. The county general fund provides money for payroll, claims and general county operations of government, such as paying off debt, O’Beirne said.

The county has paid back the interfund loans it had made since Oct. 1, to the extent of $1.114 million. O’Beirne said another $805,000 in interfund loans to the general county fund has been paid off from the last fiscal year.

“I think it puts the county in a much better position to have our interfund loans paid off,” Grennell said. “It is an indicator that we are in a much better financial situation that we have been for the last several years.”

Some of these interfund loans had been on hold since June, but when O’Beirne received the county’s $6.4 million in tax revenue in February, he said he started paying the loans off. O’Beirne said the county’s general fund now has room to operate.

Grennell said he will sit down with Moody’s Investment Services some time in the upcoming months, and use the general fund’s current operating space as an indicator to suggest Adams County is in the financial position to improve its bond rating.