City reports best credit rating ever

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A new bond rating and a potential expansion of current industry brought good news for the Troy City Council on Tuesday.

For the first time in its history, the City of Troy has received an “A+” credit rating, an upgrade from the “A” the city had previously received.

Rush Rice, president of the city’s Montgomery-based financial advisory firm Rice Advisory LLC, announced the new rating at the Troy City Council meeting on Tuesday.

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“They like Troy. This is good news. This is a report card for how the city has been doing with the taxpayers’ money,” Rice said. “It’s very objective. These analysts are very smart. They’re unbiased. They look at the numbers pure and simple.”

Both Standard and Poors and Fitch rating agencies deemed Troy’s financial condition as having a “stable outlook,” and Troy Mayor Jason Reeves said the new rating would not only impact the interest the city’s bonds received but would also benefit the taxpayers =.

“This will save us on interest rates,” Reeves said. “This will be the largest general obligation debt that we’ve ever issued, but it will also be the cheapest issue because of these rates and because of the way we’ve done it, the competitive bid process and those types of things. This allows us to borrow money at a reduced rate. Also, people look at these types of things when moving business or industry to a community. This is a nonbiased opinion of your community.”

The council also unanimously approved a sales and property tax abatement for CGI on Tuesday. Director George Tarbox announced the possibility of some 60 to 200 jobs with the expansion of CGI’s office space and operations.

“We are seeking a new contract with a client that would bring anywhere form 60 to 200 equivalent jobs,” Tarbox said. “Some of this is seasonal, so there will be peaks and valleys through the year. The low point would be 60 people. To do this our existing space will not accommodate this, so we’ll need to expand out.”

Tarbox said the company seeks to expand within University Park, and the estimated annual payroll for the new positions is estimated to be approximately $1 million.

Reeves said the company had been conservative in their estimate.

“They were very conservative on those estimates,” Reeves said. “They wanted us to know that they wanted to be conservative on their estimates as to not overshoot.”

In other business, the council:

• Rejected a bid at the advice of Fire Chief Thomas Outlaw for thermal imaging cameras. The recommendation came after the fire department was unable to secure a specific model of camera through the bids, Outlaw said. “At the time we got the bids back in, there were none of these specific models we wanted available. So to get newer ones, they’re actually a little bit better, that’s the reason we’ll need to bid them out again,” Outlaw said. New bids will be sent out and Outlaw said he would report back to the council with recommendations on the bids.

• Gave approval to the mayor to apply for a Community Development Block Grant in order to improve the water and sewage ways in the northwest area of town to include Adams, Boyd, Orion and North streets as well as Trojan Way. This is the second time the city will be applying for the grant, so Reeves said the council was more hopeful in this year’s application. “We were very close to getting this grant last year, and we want to reapply and hopefully be awarded the grant for $450,000,” Reeves said.

• Granted an extension to the 2015 fiscal budget at the request of Reeves. The City of Troy will be going into market for bonds later than planned this year and because of the delay in buying bonds Reeves requested that the council grant an extension to the 2015 fiscal year budget. Tuesday provided a first reading for the budget amendment.

“These are related to issues that have already been bid on,” Reeves said. “The Pell Avenue and the Dozier Drive will eventually exhaust the budget for those line items.”

• Received revised versions of the 772 notice and city’s 772 notice and Ordinance 352 for a loan agreement to purchase land surrounding the Publix retail development. The original submission contained a clerical error. City officials readmitted fixed copies of the resolution and ordinance in hopes of the council allowing it to be the first reading of the documents. Reeves said the council would likely make their final decisions on the 772 notice and the loan agreement to purchase land around the Publix development site at the June 23 council meeting.

• Approved the minutes from the May 16 meeting and the June 5 special called meeting for chief interviews.