Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s affirms Oakland County’s AAA bond rating

Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s has awarded its highest credit ratings to Oakland County’s short-term and long-term bonds, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and Treasurer Andy Meisner announced.

Standard & Poor’s assigned a SP-1+ rating and Moody’s an MIG 1 rating to the county’s $25 million General Obligation Limited Tax Notes Series 2014. The county will utilize the proceeds to purchase a portion of the delinquent property taxes of its underlying local governments. Both also affirmed the AAA rating on the county’s outstanding long-term GOLT bonds.

Oakland County’s fiscal strength and diverse economy were cited in awarding the county its highest ratings.

Oakland County taxpayers benefit from the county retaining S&P’s highest bond rating, Patterson said.

“A bond rating is like a credit score,” Patterson said. “When we issue bonds, we get the best interest rates available. That saves taxpayers millions of dollars.”

Meisner agreed.

“Oakland County keeping the highest possible bond rating from S & P is great news for our taxpayers,” said Meisner. “During our conversation with S & P to defend our AAA rating, I thought Budget Director Laurie Van Pelt and new Fiscal Services Chief Lynn Sonkiss did an especially good job of answering questions and conveying Oakland County’s commitment to fiscal responsibility. We’re excited at the Treasurer’s Office to be part of such a great financial team.”

“The MIG 1 rating reflects… maintenance of healthy cash reserves, a history of solid financial operations and management that support expected note repayment, and anticipated early segregation of property tax collections for note repayment,” Moody’s said. “The Aaa long-term GOLT rating incorporates the county’s large and diverse tax base… very healthy financial position and expected continuance of strong fiscal management, low direct debt burden, and modest exposure to unfunded defined benefit pension liabilities.”

Patterson said the ratings are great news for Oakland County residents.

“The MIG 1 and AAA ratings mean that taxpayers save millions of dollars when the county issues bonds because we will pay the lowest interest rates available on the market,” Patterson said.

Oakland County has retained a AAA bond rating since 1998, including through the challenges of the Great Recession.

This information was provided by L. Brooks Patterson’s office.

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