Monday, June 26th, 2017

MOODY’S AND S&P RENEWED COUNTY’S TOP RANKED RATING THIS MONTH

Morris County government sealMorris County taxpayers have quickly benefitted from the renewal of the county’s top-ranked Triple A bond rating in a subsequent $35 million bond sale this week that saved the county between $325,000 and $930,000 in interest payments over the expected life of the bonds.

The county was able to get a rate of 1.6 percent interest on the sale of bonds to finance construction and equipment purchases at the County College of Morris, Morris County School of Technology, Central Park of Morris County, and for various road and bridge projects.

Morris County had its top-ranked Triple-A bond rating reaffirmed and it’s financial stability again ranked as better than the federal government, with a strong and stable financial outlook issued this month by Moody’s Investors Services, Inc., and Standard  Poor’s, the nation’s two largest bond rating agencies.

As a result, the Triple A rating in this week’s bond sale resulted in a savings to Morris County taxpayers of $930,000 in interest if the county had a Single A rating and roughly $$325,000 less than a county with a Double A rating.

Freeholder Christine Myers

Freeholder Christine Myers

“This is great news for Morris County taxpayers and demonstrates that operating government in a stable manner – watching spending, keeping an adequate surplus, maintaining the county’s infrastructure and services, while prudently planning for the county’s future needs – can pay off in the long and short run,’’  said Freeholder Christine Myers, chair of the Freeholder Board’s Budget Subcommittee.

“As I said previously, even though the county has a Triple A history that dates to the 1970s, no one should take this top rating for granted. This is still big news and a real plus for our county,’’ Myers added.

The Triple-A rating, awarded to the county for the 42nd consecutive year, allows the county to take advantage of optimum interest and financing rates, saving taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.

Moody’s touted the county’s history of conservative budgeting, mixed with initiatives designed to improve the financial position of the county, as reasons for the top ranking. It also anticipates that the county’s tax base and finances will remain stable for the foreseeable future.Moody's Investors Services logo

“The highest quality Triple A rating reflects the county’s substantial tax base, strong and diverse economy, well managed financial operations, healthy reserve levels, and modest debt burden,’’ Moody’s said in its report.

Standard & Poors logoStandard & Poor’s, in its summary, said the county has a very strong economy, with strong budgetary performance, very strong budget flexibility very strong liquidity, and strong management.

“Morris County general obligation bonds are eligible to be rated above the sovereign (federal government) because we believe the county can maintain better credit characteristics than the U.S. in a stress scenario,’’ said Standard & Poor’s.

Read the Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s reports at: https://morriscountynj.gov/transparency/finance/

Morris County has had a Triple-A rating since 1975. It was the first county government in New Jersey to obtain the prestigious rating and is only the 11th in the nation to achieve it.

A Triple A bond rating, in effect, means the county has exceptional credit worthiness because the county can easily meet its financial commitments. The county can get the lowest interest rates when borrowing because a Triple A rated government entity is viewed in the financial world of having the smallest risk of defaulting on its debt.

That equates to lower borrowing costs, which allows for lower costs to finance capital projects.