County bond rating upgraded

Published 12:16 am Thursday, January 26, 2012

NATCHEZ — Adams County’s credit score just got a little better.

Government bond ratings have been a part of the national and international discourse for the last year, but in some ways the county was unfortunately ahead of the curve. In January 2010, the county’s bond rating was downgraded by Moody’s Investor’s Service.

Wednesday, however, Financial Advisor Demery Grubbs contacted county officials and told them that had changed.

Email newsletter signup

“We have gone from a non-investment rating to an investment rating,” Chancery Clerk Tommy O’Beirne said.

“That means that when we go to the bond market, we will get a better interest rate.”

Moody’s should release a statement detailing its decision to give the county a rating of “Ba1” later this week, Grubbs said.

“(In 2010, the rating was) Ba2, and then it dropped down to Baa,” he said. “Anything below Ba is considered non-investment grade. They are now back at (investment) level.”

While Moody’s decisions haven’t been detailed yet, Grubbs said he believes the upgrade came in part because the county has worked to improve its general finances and management of its money since the downgrade.

“They have improved their whole position,” he said.

County Administrator Joe Murray said earlier this month that when Moody’s was assessing the county’s standing, all facets of what was happening in the area were considered.

“During the flood they called and were asking general questions, ‘How will the flood affect the community, how will it affect the finance of the community?’” Murray said.

Board of Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said this news is something the supervisors have been working on for a long time, and it places the county in a good position.

Moody’s also looks at local economies when considering bond ratings, Grennell said.

“I hope it is a strong indicator that things are getting better across the state from an economic standpoint,” he said.