Lost and found website
Monitor Staff Reports
GUN BARREL CITY–It was a bit of a shock when Gun Barrel
City Economic Development Corporation members learned they had lost
their website last week.
“We were floored that it happened,” Gun Barrel City EDC consultant Jack
Thompson told The Monitor.
Though warned by city councilwoman Kathy Cochran about a week earlier
that the website’s domain name was up for sale, EDC members were sure
they had handled it.
Apparently, the person overseeing the website didn’t follow through on
making the necessary payments, although he had authority from the EDC to
get the name paid for, Thompson said.
“Rita (Evans, EDC secretary) did her job on what she was supposed to
do,” he said.
“I don’t want to get into finger-pointing,” he added.
Work on updating the look of the website is nearly complete, and a new
domain name is being secured next week, and will be managed by
Thompson’s company, Orasi Development.
“I don’t want to reveal the name at this point in time,” Thompson said.
“It’s not a major set back, just a minor inconvenience.”
New marketing materials are also being prepared listing the new website,
higher bond rating
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANK–Mabank has obtained $5.27 million in new construction funds
without increasing its payment on existing debt through the sale of $5.4
million in bonds.
The Mabank City Council heard the good news Tuesday when Southwest
Securities, Inc. senior vice president and municipal financial advisor
Ken Smith made his presentation.
Funds from the general obligation note will be available Nov. 1, and may
be applied to a wide variety of city projects, including upgrading the
city’s water plant.
But, there’s more.
Mabank is now among the very few Texas towns with 3,000 population or
less to have achieved a Baa2 rating from Moody’s Investor Services with
this bond issuance.
“This is something you can celebrate. There aren’t many small towns in
Texas with that good of a credit rating,” Smith said.
The higher rating means bonds the city issues become that much more
attractive to investors.
In addition, Smith was able to secure AAA-rated insurance from FSA for
the bonds – a feat practically unheard of among small Texas cities.
Getting the insurance accounted for about 1/2 percent decrease on the
amount of interest the city is paying for the bond, Smith told The
Smith’s 40 years as an investment banker and long experience as the
city’s advisor also contributed to securing the insurance.
The boost in Moody’s credit rating was due in great part to the city’s
fiduciary track record over the past five years.
The research and credibility of city administrator Louann Confer and
Mabank Economic Development Corp. executive director Scott Confer were
also a great help, Smith said.
He described the many interviews by phone between Moody’s and the city,
recalling one conference call which lasted an hour and a half.
“I was so pleased with their (the Confers) efforts. Moody’s wanted to
know if they were going to leave the city’s service anytime soon, and
they answered, ‘No,’” Smith said.
“I think you’ve all done an excellent job,” Mayor Larry Teague said.
Some of the information required was the number of building permits
issued over the last five years, and the value of the new property
Louann Confer reported 144 building permits issued and property improved
to the value of $20.2 million.
She added, “We will never issue bonds at budget time again” – referring
to the enormity of performing the two tasks at the same time.
According to a document from Moody’s Investors Service, other factors
contributing to the rating upgrade were:
• anticipated development of several housing projects,
• expansion plans of Solar Turbines, Inc – a major taxpayer in the city
• the addition of an 8,000-square-foot commercial industrial park, and
• the city’s tax base growth of 7.5 percent annually over the past five
years, to a 2008 taxable property value of $137.02 million.
The bond sale went through Monday, and funds are expected at closing
Nov. 1, Smith reported.
The payback interest on the $5.4 million is set between 4.1 percent and
4.4 percent over the 25-year life of the loan.
The $3.4 million in existing debt was refinanced along with the bonds
and will be paid in 18 years.
The city has been paying about $572,000 a year on the existing debt with
interest fluctuating between 5 percent and 6.1 percent, Louann Confer
The 4 percent interest rate brings yearly payments to $576,000, with
that amount decreasing in the 19th year of the 25-year payback period,
Mayor takes leave
Monitor Staff Reports
LOG CABIN–Log Cabin Mayor Gene Bearden asked his council for a 60-day
break from his official duties Thursday.
The council granted his request.
In his absence, mayor pro-tem Linda Keener will be overseeing day-to-day
“I just need a little break,” Bearden told The Monitor.
In Log Cabin, many of the duties that typically would fall to a city
administrator must be handled by the mayor.
During Bearden’s three years as mayor, the city has gotten on secure
footing financially, has seen the shoreline park renovated and repaired,
raised a new water tower and is currently installing a sewer system.