Maintaining its AAA status will translate into lower borrowing costs
By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times
The three major bond-rating firms reaffirmed Chester County’s AAA status – an assessment deemed more difficult to attain during an economic downturn – the commissioners announced this week.
“This is great news for Chester County,” Commissioners’ Chairman Terence Farrell said of the rating from Standard & Poor’s, Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service. “By retaining our AAA ratings from the three top bond-rating agencies, our school districts and municipal governments will also benefit. The reaffirmed approvals keep Chester County in a select group of counties in the nation that have been awarded AAA ratings.”
News of the reaffirmed ratings, which generates a lower interest rate for county borrowing, comes at a time when the county is issuing general obligation bonds, the primary purpose of which is to borrow funds for capital projects within the Department of Emergency Services – notably the purchase of radio and other communications equipment.
In other news this past week from the commissioners’ office, Farrell was elected chairman of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC). Established in 1965, the DVRPC focuses on coordinated planning for the orderly growth and development of an area including the five-county Philadelphia region and Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Mercer counties in southern New Jersey.
The commissioners also voted to renew a contract with Premier Healthcare Resources, a King of Prussia firm that prepared a strategic plan and financial analysis of the Pocopson Home, the county’s long-term, health-care center in Pocopson Township. The plan, which was hotly debated at three public meetings, outlined several options for reversing skyrocketing costs. Two of the options, selling or leasing the 275-bed facility, generated significant public opposition.
The commissioners indicated that Premier would be asked to garner more specifics on some suggestions it made for revenue enhancement, such as setting up a dialysis center. It would also produce guidelines and associated costs for converting the home to a nonprofit 501c3, an option that did not spur a public outcry.