FALK ANNOUNCES DANE COUNTY RECEIVES 'TRIPLE A' BOND RATING
June 23, 2003
Topf Wells (608) 266-9069, or Chuck Hicklin (608) 266-4109
Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk announced today that Dane County has received a “Aaa” (Triple A) credit rating from Moody’s Investment Service for $68.8 million of 2003 tax exempt General Obligation bonds and notes to be issued after County Board action on Thursday evening (6/26).
This is the highest credit rating category available and means the County gets the lowest loan rates.
“This is welcome and very good news,” said County Executive Falk. “The Triple A rating means Dane County can borrow at the lowest available interest rates, which saves money for Dane County taxpayers.”
Falk said, “The Triple A rating also means Dane County continues to be in excellent fiscal health. The County Board and I have worked hard and cooperatively to control spending and manage the budget carefully. It’s great to have that work recognized in ways that benefit Dane County taxpayers.”
In citing reasons for awarding Dane County the Triple A rating, Moody’s referred to the County’s “strong operating flexibility and careful fiscal management,” along with the County’s “growing and diversifying economy.”
The tax exempt bonds and notes will sell via competitive bid on June 26. The proceeds of the tax exempt bonds will finance construction of the new Justice Center, the terminal expansion of the airport, improvements to the 911 system, major repairs to County facilities, purchase of land for parks and conservation, and other capital projects.
Only two Wisconsin counties have a “Aaa” bond rating—Dane and Waukesha counties. Falk said, “In contrast to the state, where years of excessive spending have led to a multi-billion dollar deficit and a downgraded, weakened credit rating, Dane County has been fiscally conservative in planning and managing budgets. While the freezes I have instituted in response to state budget cuts have been difficult, they are important to maintaining the County’s fiscal health at a time of economic uncertainty.”
Moody’s, one of the nation’s leading credit rating agencies, reports that their Public Finance Department maintains over 40,000 ratings on the short-term and long-term obligations of about 20,000 issuers in the United States and Canada--states, provinces, cities, counties, school districts, Canadian Crown Corporations, and a wide range of other municipal entities. Moody’s rates in excess of 90% of the municipal market’s rated long-term volume annually.
According to Moody’s, bonds that are rated “Aaa” are judged to be of the best quality. They carry the smallest degree of investment risk and are generally referred to as “gilt edge.” Interest payments are protected by a large or by an exceptionally stable margin and principal is secure.
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