Will County’s upcoming $175 million bond issuance received an AA+ from S&P Global Ratings and an Aa1 rating from Moody’s Investor Services, officials announced last week.
This review process also resulted in an affirmation of these ratings to the county’s existing debt. The ratings were based upon key rating drivers such as healthy reserves supported by strong financial operations, a robust regional economy, and manageable long-term liabilities. Each agency also assigned a “stable outlook” to the county based upon these attributes.
“Due to Will County’s fiscally conservative approach, we have maintained this AA+ rating from S&P since 2008,” Will County Executive Larry Walsh said in a statement. “Will County is able to pay its bills and when many governmental bodies are facing challenging financial outlooks, Will County is fiscally sound and moving forward.”
In 2008, Will County established a policy of maintaining 22 to 26 percent of its annual corporate budget in a cash reserve fund. These monies were set aside to strengthen the county’s financial profile and to ensure a consistent cash balance for county operations.
Will County was noted for consistently maintaining operating surpluses and a strong financial reserve fund in accordance with county policy. The county was also recognized for its expanding role as a transportation and logistics hub in the Chicago metropolitan region, which contributes to its strong local economy.
“These great bond ratings are a reflection of the board’s fiscally responsible policies and decisions over many years,” Board Speaker Jim Moustis said. “We were all elected to make sure resident’s tax dollars are wisely spent and invested, and I am proud of the work we have done to achieve a strong financial standing in the eyes of global investors.”
The Moody’s report stated the expectation of the county’s financial position remaining strong as it is supported by sound financial management practices. The S&P ratings report reflected a similar opinion in the country’s economic strength, due to anticipated increases in equalized assessed valuations and per capita buying income.