JOLIET – S&P Global Ratings has assigned an AA+ and Moody’s Investor Services has assigned an Aa1 rating to Will County’s upcoming $175 million bond issuance.
This review process also resulted in an affirmation of these ratings to the county’s existing debt, according to a news release from the county. 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 Sr. said in the news release. “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, setting aside the funds 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 is 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 in the news release. “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. And 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.
“We are working hard to set an example for other government agencies around the state and even around the nation,” Mike Fricilone, R-Homer Glen and chairman of the board’s Finance Committee, said in the news release. “Will County is operating with an excellent set of financial plans and practicing conservative budgeting, all while keeping taxes low. Looking ahead, we will continue to find ways to improve and strengthen our position.”
Ragan Freitag, R-Wilmington and chairwoman of the board’s Capital Improvements Committee, said the ratings are of great significance.
“These solid bond ratings will keep borrowing costs at a minimum and keep money in our citizens’ pockets, as we build a Will County for generations to come,” she said in the news release.