J. Troy Johnston

J. Troy Johnston with Butler Snow addresses the Laurel City Council. Photo/Eloria Newell James 

The Laurel City Council approved a resolution this week authorizing the issuance of up to $3 million in obligation bonds.

In a vote of 6-0 (Ward Five Councilman Stacy Comegys was absent), the council voted during Tuesday’s meeting to approve a resolution allowing the mayor and City Council of the City of Laurel to issue general obligation bonds of the city up to $3 million.

This act follow a series of actions by city officials.

On April 16 the council approved a resolution declaring the intention of the mayor and city council of the city of Laurel to issue general obligation bonds, issue a general obligation bond of the city for sale to the Mississippi Development Bank or enter into a loan with the Mississippi Development Bank, all in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $3 million. The purpose of the bonds is to raise money for establishing, repairing, improving and extending sanitary, storm, drainage or sewerage system; protecting municipal streets and sidewalks from overflow, caving banks and other like dangers; constructing, improving and repairing bridges and culverts; altering or changing the channels of streams and water courses to control deflect or guide the current thereof; repairing streams and water courses to control deflect or guide the current thereof; repairing, improving and equipping municipal buildings; and for other related purposes as authorized under Mississippi Code Ann. Sections 21-33-301 Seq., as amended and supplemented from time to time, including paying for the cost of such borrowing; directing the publication of a notice of such intention; and for related purposes.

Also at the April meeting, in connection with the intention to issue bonds movement, the council adopted a resolution approving the employment of professionals in connection with the issuance of the $3 million in bonds.

On a 7-0 vote, the council agreed to employ the law firm of Butler Snow LLP, of Ridgeland, Mississippi, as bond counsel, Hortman Harlow Bassi Robinson & McDaniel, PLLC, of Laurel, as city counsel, and Government Consultants, Inc., of Madison as municipal advisor. The council also authorized them to prepare the necessary resolutions and offering documents for the subsequent sale and issuance of the bonds, subject to the approval of the governing body of the city.

This week’s resolution declared that as of 9 a.m. on May 21, 2019, the city’s clerk office had received no written protest against the issuance of bonds. So, with little discussion on Tuesday, the council approved the resolution to issue the bonds with a 6-0 vote. Mayor Johnny Magee said the council’s vote this week was the last step needed before the bonds could be issued.

A representative of Government Consultants, Inc. along with a representative of Butler Snow Law Firm also discussed the rates with the council and said this was a good time to be issuing bonds.

“Rates are really good right now,” J. Troy Johnston with Butler Snow told the council. “The obligation for repayment will not exceed 12 years.”

Johnston said the group anticipates opening bids for the bonds on July 16, which is the next council meeting.

City officials said the issuance of the bonds should allow the city to do a large amount of drainage work.

Council president Tony Thaxton said “these bonds are part of a much bigger project.”

We have some serious drainage issues,” Thaxton added. “These bonds will be the city’s matching funds for some big drainage projects.”

Magee said the bonds should allow for work to be done all over the city. The mayor said if the city is able to use the $3 million in bonds as matching funds for grants, the municipality has estimated being able to do about $12 million in drainage work.

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