As most of you know, I close each week’s column with a note that you should be able to reach to your elected officials and ask questions about what is happening in O’Fallon. This is an important part of what I believe is needed in an open and good government. Another part of good government is fiscal responsibility.
Well, I have some good news items to report to you this week that represent the importance that we at the City of O’Fallon place on ensuring we are fiscally responsible with your tax dollars.
First, we have lowered the City’s debt. By refinancing a number of the City’s bonds to take advantage of better interest rates, we were able to lower our payments, while keeping the same length of debt retirement. This will result in an almost $3 million reduction in debt over the long-term.
While refinancing our debt, we went through an in-depth analysis of our current city financials, policies, and obligations. Standard & Poor’s rating agency conducted this analysis and they took an intense and thorough look into the overall economic health and future outlook of the City.
As a result of their analysis, O’Fallon retained its AA+ bond rating. This rating is one of the best bond ratings in the State of Illinois. In fact, less than 10% of the municipalities in the State carry a higher bond rating. In addition, we are the only municipality in our immediate region to have this high of a rating.
At the close of the analysis we asked Standard & Poor’s what would help O’Fallon improve to the highest bond rating possible – AAA. One of their recommendations was to develop additional firm policies on how we conduct business and the City’s finances.
With this in mind and knowing that we wanted to be more transparent to our residents, O’Fallon’s City Administrator and Finance Director began preparing a new policy covering the City’s investments that is more inclusive and transparent. Here are two of the main changes:
· There is now a five-member committee made up of the City Treasurer, Chairman of the Finance Committee, City Administrator, Finance Director and Mayor. This committee is tasked with making decisions on how the City invests is funds.
· We will now go out for bids to examine who can offer the City the best returns in a safe investment. In the City’s history, we never went out for formal requests for competitive proposals.
This new investment policy was recently approved by the City Council and we are taking the first steps in implementing it.
One last note: We will be holding the next Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 beginning at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall. The Town Hall is open to all residents to O’Fallon. We will be covering the most recent Citizen’s Survey and recent business announcements. If you are not able to attend, it will be broadcasted live, and available on-demand on the City’s website: https://www.ofallon.org/public-access-television/pages/video-on-demand.
As residents of O’Fallon, you should always be able to reach out to your elected officials and ask questions about what is happening in O’Fallon. Having open communications is important to me and something I care very deeply about. Thank you for reading, and please remember, my door is always open!