Hamilton Herald Masthead Hamilton Herald

Editorial


Front Page - Friday, September 4, 2020

Hamilton County receives Triple A bond rating




The three major bond rating agencies have once again given Hamilton County a Triple A bond rating. Hamilton County has maintained this distinction since 2011.

Standard and Poor’s Global Ratings, Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investment Services have all issued Triple A reports praising Hamilton County’s financial health, says Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger.

“In this difficult time, it’s rewarding to have all three ratings agencies acknowledge Hamilton County’s long term conservative fiscal policies, which have allowed the county to anticipate and weather unexpected events such as the coronavirus.”

Coppinger went on to praise his departmental leadership, constitutional officers and the financial team Al Kiser, Lee Brouner and Vonda Patrick lead.

Standard and Poor’s agreed with Coppinger’s assessment, saying, “We view the county’s management as very strong, with strong financial policies and practices under our financial management assessment methodology, indicating our view that financial practices are strong, well embedded and likely sustainable.”

Fitch acknowledged the impact the coronavirus has had on local economies and applauded the financial efforts Hamilton County has made.

“For fiscal 2021, the county budgeted for flat overall general fund revenues and for declines in certain revenue items such as the state’s gasoline and fuel tax and gross receipts tax. The county plans to leave vacant nonessential positions in fiscal 2021 and did not provide for any raises at the county or department of education for the fiscal year.”

Moody’s also acknowledged the coronavirus in its evaluation but noted Hamilton County is already on the economic rebound.

“The county’s largest employers, while slowed operations and staffing during the economic shutdown, have started to return to normal operations and the local economy is expected to slowly return to normal in the near term. The county’s core operations have been supported by property taxes, which have been trending fairly similar to previous years.”

Coppinger says this latest Triple A endorsement will let Hamilton County take advantage of current low interest rates and borrow money at the lowest available market interest rate.

“This will allow us to spend $45 million on additional capital improvements for county general government and also finance approximately $17 million in capital improvements for Hamilton County’s Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority.”

Source: Coppinger