Banking & Finance and Government

Kent County again enjoys highest credit rating

It’s a sweet 16 for county financial managers.

May 2, 2014
| By Pete Daly |
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(Watch for this story Monday morning on WZZM TV 13) Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service both have affirmed Kent County’s long-term credit rating as triple-A — the highest possible — for the 16th year in a row.

S&P and Moody’s also affirmed the highest short-term credit rating for the county, said Daryl Delabbio, county administrator and controller.

County officials said of about 3,200 counties in the United States, approximately 60 hold a Triple-A rating for long-term debt from both Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service.

According to a news release from Delabbio’s office, S&P noted that Kent County has a history of strong financial management and commitment to meeting financial obligations.

In addition, one S&P analyst called Kent County’s financial overview “consistently one of the most comprehensive, best documents and presentations we receive.”

Moody’s noted the strengths of the county include a large, diverse tax base and consistently solid management of financial operations. Standard & Poor’s noted Kent County has a history of strong financial management and moderate debt burden. In addition, Moody’s stated the county has an established record of timely and sufficient note payment on its debt.

Dan Koorndyk, chair of the Kent County Board of Commissioners, said the county’s ratings impact everyone who lives and works in Kent County because it saves taxpayer dollars that would otherwise be spent on higher interest rates when the county borrows money for big projects.

According to the county, by maintaining the current triple-A rating, taxpayers save more than $800,000 in annual interest costs, compared to a double-A rating, on all county projects that require the issuance of bonds, such as airport and jail expansion.

Koorndyk, Treasurer Ken Parrish, Delabbio, and Stephen Duarte, the county’s fiscal services director, met with the rating agencies recently to review the county’s financial situation.

“We are in rare company with these outstanding ratings,” said Delabbio.

“Our successes stem from having some of the most dedicated, talented staff in government and a board that works to adopt strong fiscal policies and structurally balanced budgets,” he added.

Kent County was honored with three prestigious awards last year by the Government Finance Officers Association: the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award (11th consecutive year); Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting (13th consecutive year and 22nd time in 23 years); and Popular Annual Financial Reporting Award (fifth consecutive year).

The county’s financial documents are available on its website at accesskent.com/Departments/FiscalServices/documents.htm.

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