RIDGELAND - City officials accepted one of four competitive bids to issue nearly $12 million in bonds for the new town center project.

The City of Ridgeland will issue $11.9 million in general obligation bonds through Piper Jaffray, a full service investment banking company based out of Minneapolis that has an office in Memphis and other cities throughout the Southeast.

Piper Jaffray won the lowest bid for interest rates coming at just under three percent at 2.896146 percent.

Alderman-at-Large D.I. Smith said that this money could be used for a variety projects, including roads and other public works priorities.

"There are a number of different projects we could use this for," Smith said. "This allows us to do planning, engineering and construction on a variety of infrastructure projects."

Mayor Gene F. McGee said that the money is currently earmarked for the roads and parking they will have to build for the new town hall project.

"This is really our number one project right now/ Our current building has been retrofitted to death and it's not energy efficient," McGee said.

McGee said they hope to have numbers and drawings in as early as the end of the month or the beginning of January.

"We are just waiting on the architects at this point," McGee said.

The project would involve altering School Street and constructing an entrance where Rice Road connects to U.S. 51. The mayor said that these funds could also be used for parking.

McGee added that he and the board was thrilled with the bids they received.
"We got a great bid. It is really phenomenal," McGee said. "They all came in better than anticipated."

He attributed this to their great bond rating. Moody's Investors Service has given the city an Aa2 bond rating, which he says is the best bond rating for a municipality in the state. He said that they received a competitive group of four bids.

Three of those bids came in at under three percent.

"We are very excited that we have this kind of bond rating. I think it just goes to show what a strong financial situation this city is in, which says a lot about the way it has been managed. We are glad we can do a big project like this without having to raise taxes," McGee said.

In other news, the board accepted a $27,000 Homeland Security Grant for the Ridgeland Police Department.

McGee said the money would go to building a new fence around the car impound lot behind the police station.