Mayor Kemp Defends Proposed 2014-2015 Hopkinsville Budget
Hopkinsville City officials are mulling over a proposed city budget that's befalling some criticism over the city's debt.
In a recent press conference Mayor Dan Kemp waded into ongoing political jabs to “set the record straight” about Hopkinsville’s $18.2m debt load.
“These are the facts and people who may say during a campaign that Hopkinsville debt is out of control are simply not uninformed, even to a point of being irresponsible," said Kemp on Friday.
In a later phone interview, Kemp wouldn’t say who was criticizing the city's spending, but said some candidates had called the debt level “excessive”.
But, Kemp said Hopkinsville has the lowest debt level of comparable cities, according to credit rating agency Standard and Poor's which gave the city a AA- credit rating.
“That’s not me talking, or our chief financial officer talking, that’s Standard & Poors’ talking," said Kemp. "The truth of the matter is that Hopkinsville’s financial condition is very good.
"But I think it’s healthy to have a lot of public discussion particularly about something that’s important as borrowing money and public debt," said Kemp. "So I don’t have a problem with campaign discussion about city finances, in fact I think it’s healthy.”
Hopkinsville's $18.2m debt equals to about 10.46% of the city's $180m debt capacity set by state law. Kemp said that's the lowest of neighboring cities of a comparable sizes' debt levels including Paducah, Bowling Green and Owensboro.
The debt level included capital projects including the 5-K Rail Trail and a new municipal building.
Kemp expects the budget's first reading June 3rd and the second two weeks later in time for the start of the fiscal year July 1st.