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Baptist Funds Will Go Toward Road Repairs

By Alyssa Schnugg
Staff writer

A lot of potholes can be fixed with $580,000.

That’s how much money will go toward maintaining roads in Lafayette County thanks to the annual payout made possible from the county’s $20 million reserve and trust fund from the 2012 sale of Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi.
On Tuesday, Lafayette County Supervisors met with Edward Maxwell from the Watkins, Ward & Stafford accounting firm who presented the annual report.
As of March 31, the end of the fiscal year, the trust fund was valued at $21,388,699, up about $216,012 from March 31, 2017.
In 2012, Baptist paid the city and county paid $60 million to buy the hospital so it could get out of its lease and build the new Baptist hospital that opened in November 2017. Baptist sold the old facility to the University of Mississippi for $22 million last year. The city and county split the funds and received $30 million each. The Board of Supervisors at the time elected to take $10 million and pay off all county debt and invest the remaining $20 million.
The county receives an annual payout of 3 percent of the fund’s value. The county would have received about $641,000; however, about $60,000 will be used to pay attorney and accounting fees for the last five years. The county paid those bills from the general fund and will be putting it back in from this year’s distribution.
Since it’s inception in 2012, the county has received $1,752,464. Each year, the supervisors have elected to put those funds, which average about $550,000, toward road repairs.
“This is the taxpayers’ money and roads are something everyone in the county uses,” said Board President Jeff Busby.
The fund is managed by investment firm Green Square Capital. About 62 percent of the fund is invested in fixed income, like bond mutual funds, exchange-traded products and U.S. Treasury bonds. About 39 percent is invested in equities, like stocks and equity mutual funds.
During the 2017-18 fiscal year, the investment saw a 4.17 return, down a bit from the 2016-2017 fiscal year that saw a 6.67 return.


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