Lafayette County weighs hiring financial consultant

By The Associated Press

OXFORD — Lafayette County is considering hiring a financial adviser to help manage profits from the sale of Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi.

The Oxford Eagle reports the city of Oxford and county sold the building that houses the existing hospital to Baptist a year ago after two years of negotiations.

The city and county each received $30 million and both decided to invest the proceeds. The county used about $10 million of the funds to pay off debts first and has about $20 million to invest.

Board President Jeff Busby says supervisors would have the final say about what to do with the funds, but having someone to advise them could be a tool to assist the board.

Robert Paine, the attorney who has assisted the city with its trust fund, said the board could set up an advisory committee of volunteers but hiring a consultant may be a better option.

The advantage of having a committee is that they would be volunteers. However, finding people familiar with the complex task of investing public funds to serve on such a committee could be tricky, Paine said. The disadvantage of hiring a consultant is that it would cost the county money to pay this person to do the work.

“With this amount of funds, it could be a substantial fee,” Paine said.

Supervisor Mike Pickens stated for the record that he is against investing the money.

“I don’t think we should be in the money management business,” Pickens said.