Financing & Municipal Advisory Services

Whether your locality is taking a fresh look at its financial foundations, planning for future capital projects, or is ready to get a project underway, VML/VACo Finance can help. VML/VACo Finance is registered as a Municipal Advisor (MA) with the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Our finance professionals earned the designation of Municipal Advisor by taking and passing the MSRB Series 50 exam. As Municipal Advisors, we follow a code of conduct and have a fiduciary responsibility to our clients.

Annual Retainer Engagement

An annual retainer engagement is offered to clients that would like to take advantage of our full suite of municipal advisory services during a given year. The annual retainer engagement includes two Municipal Advisors assigned to support client throughout the year; annual Credit Benchmarks & Debt Capacity report or Plan of Finance for a governmental or enterprise fund; tailored recommendations regarding fund balance, debt restructuring and capital asset planning; in-person planning meeting with local management; in-person presentation and/or planning meeting with governing body; on-call availability for routine questions and advice; half off the standard price for Financial Policies, Financial Forecast, Fixed Asset Replacement Plan, Rating Agency Presentation; prioritization provided to retainer clients for Accounting Consulting placements. The full suite of services is offered for an annual fee of $15,000, with grants available up to $7,500.

Our most frequently-requested deliverables

Credit Benchmarks & Debt Capacity Report

Local governments periodically need to step back and examine their financial strengths and weaknesses, whether as part of their long-range planning or before undertaking a financing. VML/VACo Finance can provide an objective third-party analysis to serve as the foundation for your financial review.  VML/VACo Finance examines the local government’s credit profile and compares it to industry standards and peer localities.  We assess your debt capacity and make recommendations for presentation to the governing body.

Plan of Finance

If your locality or authority is taking on a large or complicated financing, or is developing a strategy to accommodate additional debt, you need a Plan of Finance.  Depending on your specific requirements, the Plan of Finance assesses the cost and attributes of available financing options and determines how best to incorporate the new obligations into future budgets.  In developing the Plan of Finance, our Municipal Advisors compare various financing scenarios, loan structures, and modes of financing.

Financing Implementation

Whatever financing option you select, VML/VACo Finance can put it all together for you.  Financing Implementation may entail coordinating the municipal bond issuance team; soliciting bids and managing the closing for your bank loan or equipment lease; or guiding you through the steps to obtain financing through state loan programs.

Financial Policies

VML/VACo Finance believes financial policies should be tailored to the individual requirements of each locality or authority.  No off-the-shelf set of policies is appropriate for all local governments or authorities.  Our work focuses largely on policies for establishing appropriate fund balances, planning for economic downturns, and setting aside funds for asset maintenance and replacement.  Additionally, we assist clients in determining policy goals for managing debt and debt service levels.

Financing options VML/VACo Finance supports

  • Municipal bonds – Municipal Advisors manage the issuance of municipal bonds by coordinating a team of finance professionals including investment bankers, bond counsel, the trustee, rating agencies, and others. Bond issuance entails more expense and ongoing compliance requirements than other forms of financing.  Yet for large-scale financings, municipal bonds are frequently the most cost-effective option.  VML/VACo Finance has directed the issuance of hundreds of millions in municipal bonds since its founding in 2003.
  • Bank loans – Competitive rates, fewer regulatory burdens, and low issuance costs have made bank loans the preferred vehicle for financing capital projects for many local governments and authorities. VML/VACo Finance issues a Request for Proposals (RFP) for bank loans, analyzes and compares proposals, and works with the selected bank and bond counsel to make the closing process simple for our clients.  We work with banks at the national, regional, and community levels to identify the most attractive rates and terms.
  • Equipment lease purchase financing – For moveable equipment that can be used as collateral, equipment leasing typically offers the most streamlined, cost-effective financing source. VML/VACo Finance includes the leading providers of equipment leases in its competitive RFP process.
  • Government loan programs – The Commonwealth of Virginia and federal agencies offer a number of attractive loan programs and revolving funds.  We will help you take an objective look at features, timing, and fees to know when taking advantage of government loan programs is your best choice.

Financing options exclusive to VML/VACo Finance

VML/VACo Finance’s financing options include programs you won’t find anywhere else with no program closing costs.

Fixed Rate Loan Program

The Fixed Rate Loan Program enhances the attractiveness of bank loans for projects over $2 million. Participants can take advantage of a convenient online payment interface with loan servicing, no-cost arbitrage monitoring and rebate reports, and no wire fees. Participants who select this program pay an annual fee instead of a program fee at closing.

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IDA of Stafford County & the City of Staunton, Virginia

When a conduit issuer is required, municipal bonds and notes of the VML/VACo Finance program are sometimes issued by the Industrial Development Authority of the County of Stafford and the City of Staunton, Virginia (IDA). This joint IDA was established solely for the purpose of serving as the Issuer for VML/VACo Finance. The dozens of VML and VACo member localities that have benefitted from VML/VACo’s pooled financing programs since 2003 are grateful to the Board of Supervisors of Stafford County and the City Council of Staunton for their invaluable roles in creating VML/VACo Finance and for their continuing support of the program.

The IDA is organized and exists as a political subdivision of the Commonwealth. Its Board of Directors consists of seven (7) directors, three (3) of whom are appointed on a continuing basis by the Board of Supervisors of Stafford County, and three (3) of whom are appointed on a continuing basis by the City Council of Staunton. The remaining position is appointed on a rotating basis between the two localities.

Industrial Development Authority of Stafford Co. & the City of Staunton, Virginia

Board of Directors – 2023-2024

Michael Norris, Chairman

City of Staunton

Henry Thomassen, Vice Chaiman

Stafford County

Zachary Long

City of Staunton

Terry Payne

Stafford County

Debbie Irwin

City of Staunton

Michael Lovitt

Stafford County

Gary Adkins

Stafford County