Commissioners say achievement bodes well for taxpayers
The Chester County Commissioners announced on Thursday, Nov. 7, the reaffirmation of Triple A bond ratings from Standard & Poor’s, Fitch Ratings and an Aaa rating from Moody’s Investors Service.
News of the reaffirmed ratings came in the same week that the county presented its preliminary 2014 budget, which holds the line on taxes and also authorized the issuance of general obligation bonds, the primary purpose of which is to refinance existing debt, a county news release said.
“There’s no more objective, comprehensive and validating measure of our excellent financial management than these ratings and the analysis underlying the ratings,” Commissioners’ Chairman Ryan Costello said. “Triple-A ratings bring the interest rate associated with the cost of borrowing down significantly. To put this into context, with these high ratings, county taxpayers will save $1 million on the overall investment that is being made for the new Emergency Services voice radio communication system.”
Commissioner Kathi Cozzone agreed, adding that 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,” she said.
The continued Triple-A ratings from all three agencies reflect Chester County’s success in achieving and maintaining its strategic plan priority of smart financial management, the release said.
“The county has an outstanding record of managing for results. The bond ratings came about, and have been maintained because of the county’s management philosophy,” said Commissioner Terence Farrell.
According to Standard & Poor’s, the AAA rating reflects Chester County’s diverse employment base and strong budgetary flexibility and management. In re-confirming its Aaa, Moody’s Investors Service noted the county’s superior financial management and its solid financial operations supported by strong policy framework, as well as the county’s large and diverse tax base. Fitch Ratings commented that key ratings drivers for its re-confirmation of the AAA included a healthy reserve position, manageable long-term liabilities, and strong reserve levels, the release said.
“These Triple-A ratings validate some of the proactive and creative approaches that we have taken in controlling costs, so that we can continue to provide the best services to our citizens,” Chester County Chief Operating Officer Mark Rupsis. “For example, we have worked hard to minimize increases in employee medical benefit costs through our wellness initiative and bidding, and we have implemented programs that have resulted in energy savings for county government.”