Monday, June 5, 2017
Atlantic County has been upgraded again.
Moody’s Investors Services has revised Atlantic County’s outlook to stable with an Aa2 bond rating. Its May 31, 2017 upgrade follows a similar May 17, 2017 upgrade by Standard and Poor’s to stable with an AA bond rating.
Bond ratings are given to local governments to rate their overall credit-worthiness, much the same as credit scores do for individuals.
The Moody’s upgrade reflects the county’s strong financial management practices and policies and “expectation that, given management’s strong track record and detailed planning, the county’s finances will continue the historical trend of remarkable stability.”
“This is extremely good news for our taxpayers at a time when it is sorely needed,” said County Executive Dennis Levinson.
“As a result of the PILOT bill $3.4 billion has been removed from our tax base. We have also refunded more than $65 million to Atlantic City for years of casino property over-assessments. Yet Atlantic County government has not only maintained our outstanding ratings, but has seen them improve.”
“Atlantic County’s management is strong with conservative budgeting practices guided by multi-year planning. The county has a history of preparing in advance for possible contingencies, which has helped offset some of the uncertainty related to Atlantic City,” noted Moody’s.
The county’s efforts to diversify the regional economy with the implementation of the AngelouEconomics economic development plan and the creation and operation of the Atlantic County Economic Alliance to lead those efforts were cited as positive factors.
“The confidence of both S&P and Moody’s in Atlantic County can only help our efforts to attract new businesses, retain and expand existing businesses, create new jobs, and encourage private capital investment,” stated Lauren H. Moore, Jr., Executive Director of the Atlantic County Economic Alliance.
Moody’s also recognized the county’s strong liquidity, modest debt and low pension liabilities as highly favorable.
“I am extremely proud of our financial team which has had to work even harder to deal with a number of recent challenges imposed by Atlantic City’s circumstances,” added Levinson. “But our commitment to serve the best interests of county taxpayers remains sound and our outlook for the future is positive.”