S&P, Moody’s upgrade bond ratings for Polk County debt
Polk County Enterprise, August 2007
BY VALERIE REDDELL
LIVINGSTON — An improvement in Polk County’s bond rating yielded a lower than projected interest rate for $2.53 million in tax notes approved in Tuesday’s Commissioners Court meeting.
Coastal Securities consultant Jim Gilley told commissioners that Moody’s has upgraded Polk County’s rating to A3, up from Baa1 and Standard & Poors’ rating went from a BBB+ to A-.
When Gilley marketed those securities, the rating increase helped get a bid for those bonds from A.G. Edwards of 4.1 percent, which is below budget projections.
Gilley added that the rating process drew an interesting comment from S&P.
“They were complimentary about fund balances. S&P said the local economy is a BBB kind of economy. Houston is a much easier place to get a good rating. There’s much more diversity in the economy. Your economy is more vulnerable,” Gilley said.
The BBB-type economy notwithstanding, the management and fiscal policies instituted give the county A level credit, according to S&P credit raters.
“Each person sitting at that table deserves the credit that the credit rating is up there,” Gilley said.
Commissioners voted to approve a contract with Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services with an additional provision that will provide contract services for children in foster care.
The new contract will also reimburse the Polk County Child Welfare Board for money spent on children who meet certain federal guidelines.
Local CPS supervisor Lou Liles said 88 children were in foster care as of Tuesday and the department ranges from 45 to 70 active investigations at any time.
Children are typically removed from the home at night and bring nothing with them, she said. The Child Welfare Board spends $150 on clothing and other essential items when a child enters foster care.
The board is funded through jury fees and a couple of annual fund-raisers, she said.
The contract approved Tuesday will allow CPS to reimburse the Child Welfare Board for 60 percent of the expenses on about 48 of the 80 children through a Title IVE program.
Commissioners also voted to accept certain roads in Sportsman’s Retreat and
Creekside Subdivisions in Precinct 2 and Dodge Road and Matthews Road in Precinct 3 into the county road system.
The purchase of three Mack trucks and trade-in of three previously leased trucks for Precinct 3 got unanimous approval Tuesday.
The buy board purchase totals $291,580 and the trade-in amount was $237,000, records show. The balance of $54,580 will be financed through a lease purchase agreement with BancorpSouth Equipment Finance.
One Polk County taxpayer spoke at Tuesday’s public hearing on the proposed 2007 tax rate held in the Commissioners Courtroom, and his questions were limited to whether the increase in value was sufficient to cover the county’s increased costs.
The proposed budget projects increased revenue of $2,576,208 and an additional $2,548,596.35 based on a comparison budget adopted for fiscal year 2007.
The proposed rate — 62.77 cents per $100 valuation — is the same rate assessed for the last two year, County Judge John Thompson announced during the hearing.
That rate will generate about $12.9 million in revenue, which is $673,486 more than last year, Thompson said.
The second hearing will be held at 4 p.m. Sept. 4 and the public is encouraged to attend and make comments.
Consent agenda items approved Tuesday include:
• Preliminary plat approvals for Holiday Woods Subdivision in Precinct 1 and Doss Acres Subdivision in Precinct 2.
• Reappointment of Howard Daniel to the Burke Center Board of Trustees.
• Consolidation of voting precincts for the November Constitutional amendment election.
• Consider an order for election for November and the early voting schedule.
• Consider contract with Goodwin-Lasiter for flood disaster grant engineering services.
• Adopt Texas Department of State Health Services indigent health care application, documentation, verification and payment rates.
• Consider renewal agreements with DETCOG for 911 services.
• Consider advertising for bids for annual county purchases.
• Renewal of an agreement with Brazos Transit District
• Approval of engagement letter with Sandersen Knox & Belt for the fiscal year 2007 audit.