Moody's Investors Service Assigns Aaa Rating With Stable Outlook To Bucks County's $63.75 Million General Obligation Bonds
On Friday, March 8, Moody's Investors Service of New York assigned a rating of Aaa with stable outlook to Bucks County's $63.75 million General Obligation Bonds, Series of 2013. In addition, Moody's affirmed the Aaa rating on approximately $289.2 million of county and county-guaranteed debt outstanding, including the current issue.
According to Moody's, "The Aaa rating reflects the county's sizeable tax base that is predominantly residential and agricultural, socioeconomic indicators that comfortably exceed state and national medians, a healthy financial position despite several years of reserve draws, and a low debt burden that is expected to remain manageable given limited future issuance plans."
"I would like to compliment our Finance department, the members of our administrative team, and our entire workforce," Commissioner Chairman Robert G. Loughery stated. "This is great news for the 625,000 residents of Bucks County, as well, for the issuance of the 2013 bonds. The proceeds will be used to finance the completion of the new Justice Center, bridge maintenance, various other capital improvements, and the county's Open Space program."
"This Aaa rating affirms the strategic plan that we set in motion during recent years," added Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler. "We will continue to take a similar approach on behalf of Bucks County residents."
Moody's cited county strengths that include a large and diverse tax base with above-average wealth indicators, healthy financial reserve levels and low debt burden with rapid amortization. The ratings agency added: "We believe the county's financial position will remain satisfactory for the near-term given management's commitment to maintaining reserves at adequate levels, ongoing cost control efforts and recent growth in recurring revenues." Moody's also praised county management for the elimination of 230 staff positions - equal to 8.75 percent of the workforce - mostly through attrition. In addition, the county "has a track record of conservative expenditure budgeting with costs coming in below budget across a variety of line items in recent fiscal years."
On Monday, March 11, Standard & Poor's assigned an AA+ rating with stable outlook to Bucks County's General Obligation Bonds, Series of 2013, and reaffirmed AA+ rating for all Bucks County's General Obligation debt outstanding.