Columbia County Receives Third 'AAA' Bond Rating
S&P Global Ratings raised its long-term rating to ‘AAA’ from ‘AA+’ for Columbia County due to the county’s strong and stable financial position which benefits from conservative budgeting and formal policies and the diverse tax base.
AAA is the highest possible bond rating and offers an exceptional degree of credibility. The rating shows that the entity at hand is able to meet its financial commitments. The credit strengths include low poverty and unemployment rates; ample reserve levels strengthened by formal policies; and manageable debt burden given the use of Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax (SPLOST) and General Obligation (GO) Bonds.
Among the reasons S&P gave for a top bond rating include the following:
• Strong economy, with access to a broad and diverse metropolitan statistical area;
• Strong management, with good financial policies and practices under our financial management assessment methodology;
• Strong budgetary performance, with operating surpluses in the general fund and at the total governmental fund level in fiscal 2018;
• Very strong budget flexibility and liquidity;
• Strong debt and contingent liability profile;
• Very strong institutional framework.
Chairman Doug Duncan states, “Achieving a third ‘AAA’ is the direct result of many years of conservative and financially responsible stewardship with the citizens of Columbia County’s tax monies. Our staff is to be commended for their exemplary work.”
County Manager, Scott Johnson noted, “Columbia County joins the elite group of Cobb and Gwinnett counties to be the only governments in Georgia to have a perfect ‘AAA’ across the board. In fact, there are only 49 counties (including Columbia County) nationwide that are rated ‘AAA’ by all three rating agencies. With 3,141 counties and county equivalents in the United States that puts Columbia County within the top 2%.”