Saturday October 10th, 2015 7:02AM

Hall Co. Commission likely to hire financial advisor

By B.J. Williams News Director
GAINESVILLE - For the first time in its history, Hall County will hire a financial advisor.

At Monday's work session, commissioners heard a proposal from county staff for the hiring of The PFM Group of Atlanta to provide financial services as needed for Hall County.

Purchasing Director Tim Sims gave commissioners two options to consider: hire the company at an annual flat fee of $25,000 with 25 hours of service per quarter, or hire PFM on an on-call basis at a fee of $200-250 per hour.
Commissioners agreed to consider the flat fee option as long as county staff is able to negotiate for more flexibility on the use of the contract hours.

County Finance Director Vickie Neikirk said commissioners talked with her about bringing a financial advisor on board when she was hired a year ago.

"A financial advisor will provide assistance to us in planning for future growth as far as what the county wants to do in moving forward with their SPLOST, any type of debt refinancing-they'll assist us with that," said Neikirk. "They'll look at...cash flow issues."

Neikirk said most larger counties use the services of financial advisors, and Hall County has grown to the point that it needs similar services.

"Dekalb, Cobb, Gwinnett [use FAs]...just because the scope of their work is so large," said Neikirk.

Commissioner Ashley Bell said contracting with a financial advisor makes good economic sense for Hall County.

"We need to make sure with as many counties around this country that are going bankrupt, that are not filing things correctly, losing their bond rating...we have to make sure that we have a very good bond rating because that saves taxpayer money," said Bell. "Having an FA is going to make sure we keep a top-notch bond rating."

County okays consultant for Gainesville transportation study

Commissioners said at Monday's work session they will approve the hiring of Pond & Company from Norcross as a consultant to oversee a transportation study for the city of Gainesville.

The city will pay for the $125,000 study, but the county had to approve the move, since it is the government entity that oversees the Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Commission holds last work session in courthouse annex

Monday's work session was the final meeting for the Hall County Commission in the Hall County Courthouse Annex.

Thursday's regular meeting will be held at the Georgia Mountains Center at 6:00 p.m. and then all future gatherings will be at the Hall County Government Center on Brown's Bridge Road.

The first work session at the new government center is scheduled for November 5 with the first regular meeting set for November 8.
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