WEST CHESTER — The Chester County Commissioners announced today that the county has retained AAA bond ratings from Standard & Poor’s, Fitch Ratings and an Aaa rating from Moody’s Investors Service — all of which represent the highest possible credit rating from the respective agencies.
“Retaining our AAA ratings from the three top bond rating agencies is great news for Chester County, as well as for our school districts and municipal governments that will also benefit from this rating achievement,” Commissioners’ Chair Terence Farrell said. “The reaffirmed approvals keep Chester County in a select group of counties in Pennsylvania, as well as the nation that have been awarded AAA ratings.”
It is expected that the AAA bond ratings will result in millions of dollars in savings in the coming years.
Commissioner Kathi Cozzone said, “This is important news for Chester County’s taxpayers. Chester County has remained financially sound in these difficult economic times and that was recognized by all three ratings agencies. I am grateful to senior staff whose participation in this process was critical in retaining this ‘triple/triple’.”
“Receiving the highest rating reflects the county’s philosophy of managing for results,” said Commissioner Ryan Costello. “Chester County citizens can be assured that our county government is managed to the highest standards based on the best financial practices, which produce the lowest cost of debt so that we can fund important initiatives such as the new public safety training facility and the upgraded Emergency Services radio system.”
Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services assigns its AAA rating and stable outlook to Chester County’s 2011 general obligation notes and bonds. The agency also reaffirmed the AAA rating, with a stable outlook, on the county’s existing general obligation debt.
According to Standard & Poor’s, the rating reflects the county’s diverse and growing economic base with access to the Philadelphia metropolitan area, broad and diverse property tax base with very strong wealth and income levels, very strong financial position and management team, and moderate debt burden with manageable additional capital needs.
Fitch reported the key rating drivers to it awarding AAA status included Chester County’s strong financial condition, fiscally prudent management team, above average socioeconomic factors, a large and diverse tax base and moderate overall debt levels.
“The county continues to maintain solid financial operations and, through conservative budgeting practices, has retained its above-average reserve levels,” Fitch reported. “The county benefits from high wealth and income levels and a stable employment base including federal, state and local government institutions and major corporations.”