This is a press release from the City of Hattiesburg.
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - On Thursday, Dec. 20, Moody’s Investors Services restored the City of Hattiesburg’s bond rating at an initial Aa3.
According to the credit opinion published by Moody’s, “Mississippi cities have an institutional framework score of ‘Aa’ or ‘strong.’” This rating comes after the City’s administration and council worked diligently to produce three financial audits (FY 2015, FY 2016 and FY 2017) in 17 months.
“At the beginning of 2018, we identified several goals that we used to guide our work through the year. Getting us to a place where we can be a more credible, modern, responsive and citizen-center organization was heavily dependent on our bond rating being restored,” said Mayor Toby Barker. “This is the game changer that will allow for us to finance projects at a competitive rate, exemplify our commitment to financial success to other government agencies when applying for millions of dollars in grants and allowing us to firmly plant our feet on a level the citizens of Hattiesburg deserve.”
Moody’s assigned this rating to the $29.9M Special Obligation Bonds, Series 2019 sale, which will primarily be used to fund public safety capital needs, including a police station, municipal court facility and fire station.
The rating was issued based on the following four strengths:
Growing tax base with a significant institutional presence
Stable financial position
New leadership team
Lagoon system in compliance with stipulated order
Barker added, “Christmas came early for Hattiesburg, and I could not be prouder of our team. From the support of the City Council to our administrative team - CAO Ann Jones, CFO Connie Everett along with the entire cabinet – and our auditors and consultants, all have poured hours and hours of hard work into helping us achieve this goal. It exemplifies the momentum we’re experiencing as a City and is only a sign of all things to come.”