GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County has passed a major milestone in the progression of the Gallia County Jail Facility Project with the issuance of the first series of tax-exempt bonds to be used toward project funding.
According to a news release from the Gallia County Commission to the Tribune, on Nov. 17, Gallia County officially locked-in interest rates for $7.8 Million worth of tax-exempt bonds, and another $5-million of tax-exempt bonds on Dec. 2.
The Board of County Commissioners, led by President Harold Montgomery, Vice President David K. Smith, and Commissioner Brent Saunders issued a joint statement: “The administration has carefully and responsibly planned for the upcoming jail project over the past several years. We are finally at a point where we can lock in funding for the project. The timing of the issuance of these bonds coincides with historically low-interest rates which significantly favors the County leading to an All-In True Interest Cost blended rate of 2.67% for a 40-year term.”
Coinciding with the bond issuances, Gallia County pursued a bond rating by S&P Global. According to the news release, “after a thorough rating analysis by S&P, taking in to account the County’s management, financials, economic development as well as the County’s demographics, S&P Global has assigned the initial underlying bond rating of ‘A+’, which is considered ‘Good Quality’.”
Mike Burns, managing director of Baird (Columbus), commented “An ‘A+’ bond rating is a strong rating in today’s COVID-19 world we live in and puts the County amongst some of the highest-rated entities in the region.”
Based on data from October 2020, there are 14 rated Counties and School Districts within Gallia, Scioto, Jackson, Lawrence, Vinton, and Athens Counties and of these entities, only Athens CSD has a higher underlying rating than Gallia County. Gallia County shares the same underlying rating as Scioto County and Jackson County.
In early November, Commission President Montgomery, County Auditor Larry Betz, and County Administrator Melissa Clark presented to S&P Global via an hour and a half conference call with the purpose to discuss and share a positive picture of the County’s financials, economy, county management, and demographic. The call was proven successful with Gallia County receiving the “A+” rating they were seeking.
“Gallia County’s administration put forth much time and effort in preparing the rating presentation with S&P Global and we are thrilled to share Gallia County has received an ‘A+’ underlying rating. However, more importantly, we are happy to announce Gallia County was able to lock in low-interest rates and secure the financing for a portion of the County’s Jail Facility Project. Looking forward, we are confident the final bond issuance for the project, will go as well as the first”, stated Melissa Clark, county administrator.