UNION — The City of Union is allocating more than $150,000 to help cover the cost of a Streetscape Project on North Gadberry and North Pinckney streets and to pay for the assistance it received in securing “A2” bond ratings from Moody’s Investor Services.
During its January meeting this past Tuesday, Union City Council voted to approve second and final reading of an ordinance authorizing the appropriation of $100,408 from the city’s General Fund balance.
In recommending that the resolution be approved, City Finance Director Laura Hembree pointed out that on Sept. 15, 2015, council approved a resolution authorizing the use of local funds to provide a match for a$500,000 grant for a Streetscape project on North Gadberry and North Pinckney streets. The amount of the local match was estimated at $58,705.
During the demolition process, however, Hembree said issues with drainage were discovered at the intersections of North Pinckney and Academy streets and at the parking lot off Academy Street. She said the cost to repair the drainage issues amounted to $41,703.
As a result, council was asked to approve the ordinance authorizing an allocation from the General Fund balance totaling $100,408.
In December, Mayor Harold Thompson announced that the City of Union and its Combined Utility System had received an A2 bond rating from Moody’s Investors Service. An A2 rating means that the entity that received it is rated as upper-medium grade and a low credit risk and has the best ability or high ability to repay short-term debt.
Thompson pointed out that in issuing the city this bond rating, Moody’s had assessed that the city’s financial position is expected to remain strong due to a combination of conservative budget management, sound liquidity and a limited debt burden. As for the utility system, Moody’s stated that its that financial flexibility was likely remain healthy because of conservative budgeting and strong rate setting policies together with a strong debt service coverage ratio and ample liquidity.
Thompson added that because of the A2 rating the city will receive $630,000 from the State Debt Service Reserve Fund which will go into the city’s coffers and which can be used to address the needs of the city and the utility department. He said the city, along with other South Carolina municipalities, pay into the fund and so the city will be getting back some of what it has paid into it over the years.
At its Tuesday meeting, Hembree presented council with an ordinance allocating a total of $53,500 to pay Moody’s for the cost of preparing the bond rating presentation and review. The amount includes a one-time fee of $22,500 to the rating agency. The funds will be appropriated from the retained earning of the Utility Fund.
Council voted unanimously to approve first reading of the ordinance.
Council also voted unanimously to approve second and final reading of an ordinance transferring ownership of City Park to Union County.
When first presenting the ordinance to council in December, Thompson said that during a special workshop on September 6, 2017, council had a discussion concerning City Park. Thompson pointed out that Union county has maintained the park for many, many years and has agreed to continue maintaining the portion of City Park that the ball field, parking area, concession area, and basketball court sit on. In turn, Thompson said the city has agreed to convey those areas to the county.
Meeting Date Changed
Council also voted unanimously to move its February meeting up a week from Tuesday, Feb. 20, to Tuesday, Feb. 13.
The change in the date for February’s meeting is due to scheduling conflicts for the members of council and the mayor.