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The Local Agenda: S&P upgrades Hall County’s bond ratings

POSTED: March 4, 2014 12:38 a.m.

Hall County recently got an upgrade from Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, one of the leading credit rating agencies in the country, for bonds and debts it owes. 

S&P raised its long-term rating on general obligation bonds issued by the Gainesville-Hall County Development Authority and the Hospital Authority of Hall County and city of Gainesville to AA- from A+. 

The agency also raised the appropriation-backed debt issued by the development authority to A+ from A. 

“We view the county’s budgetary flexibility to be very strong, supported by strong budget performance and very strong liquidity,” S&P credit analyst Jaime Trejo said in a statement. 

The county has entered into an intergovernmental agreement with both authorities that obligates the county to make purchase payments to cover principal and interest on the hospital authority’s debt. 

“The S&P bond rating upgrade is a true indicator of the improved financial status of Hall County government,” County Administrator Randy Knighton said in an email. 

“The county’s enhanced fiscal position is the direct result of our increased fund balance and the overall fiscal health of the county, which can be attributed to the astute decisions made by the Hall County Board of Commissioners and the hard work of all Hall County staff.”

Commissioners OK lease for construction of cell tower

The Hall County Board of Commissioners has approved a lease with AT&T for the construction of a cell tower on 10,000 square feet of land and air space at the Emergency Operations Center, 470 Crescent Drive in Gainesville. 

AT&T will pay the county $24,000 a year for the lease, and has agreed to provide space on the tower for the Emergency Operations Center, which houses 911 dispatch.

“It’s just an additional revenue stream to offset tax money that it costs to run the Emergency Operations Center,” Hall County Fire Chief David Kimbrell said. “It takes a good bit of power and other utilities to run that building 24/7.”

The operations center already has a tower on site, but having an additional one provides a better coverage area, Kimbrell said. 

“Antenna and tower space is at a premium ... so having it right there at our facility is a great place because you don’t have to lease phone lines to get the signal out to the tower,” he added.

Joshua Silavent covers government issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him: 

jsilavent@gainesvilletimes.com

facebook.com/joshuasilavent

@joshuasilavent


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