Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

Severe National Recession Affects Dane County’s Bond Rating

September 08, 2009
Joshua Wescott, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606
County Executive

Investment Services Say Slumping U.S. Economy to Blame

Investment Services Moody’s and Fitch Ratings have notified Dane County that the severe national recession is prompting them to adjust the county’s bond rating to “AA.”

Until now, Dane County has long been one of only two Wisconsin counties and only a handful in the entire country to receive the highest (AAA) bond rating possible.

In announcing the adjustment Fitch Ratings writes:  “The downgrade reflects the deterioration of general fund revenue levels beginning in late fiscal 2008 and continuing through fiscal 2009, primarily due to the ongoing economic downturn.”

This rating is in line with Moody’s forecast issued in April of this year that local governments would be experiencing severe financial pressure which might affect their bond ratings.

“We can’t expect the perfect rating that we receive each year, given the nation is in the worst recession since the Great Depression,” County Executive Kathleen Falk said.  “We’ll continue to budget responsibly so when the economy bounces back we’re in prime position to once again capitalize on lending rates available to only a few counties in the whole country.”

Falk noted Dane County saw a 25% drop in the amount of sales tax it collected in the most recent month reported.  Additional revenue sources directly affected by the bad economy, including county investments and fees collected from planning and development permits, are on pace to be down a combined $3-million this year. 

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