Spotsylvania County earns highest ratings from all three major bond ratings agencies for the first time ever. The county has held AAA ratings from Standard and Poor’s since 2019, and from Fitch since 2016, but was notified of the rating upgrade from Aa1 to AAA by Moody’s Investor Service on August, 25, 2023. Only 11 states, 48 counties and 36 cities in the United States have a triple-A bond ratings from all three major rating agencies.
The county plans to issue its General Obligation Bonds on September 6, 2023, and requested bond ratings from Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s Investors Service, and Fitch Ratings in preparation for the bond sale.
“Receiving top ratings from all three major rating agencies is an objective the county has been working towards for some time and we have finally realized that goal,” says Edward Petrovitch, Spotsylvania County Administrator. “This notable accomplishment not only sets us apart, it indicates confidence in the county’s financial strength and ultimately saves our taxpayers money by lowering the county’s interest rates during the borrowing process. This is a win for the county and it’s a win for our taxpayers.”
Ratings are assigned based on criteria that include the county’s financial performance and management, overall debt load and approach to long-term issues ranging from financial obligations to economic development trends. The highest ratings, Aaa/AAA, are granted to counties that are best managed and prepared to meet debt obligations during periods of recession or fiscal stress. The higher credit rating an entity receives, the lower its cost to repay bonds.
Moody’s Investors Service cited the county’s ample and improved financial position, strong, formal fiscal policies, very strong governance and strong and diversifying local economy as reasons for the rating upgrade. Moody’s reported a stable outlook for its rating, reflecting the “likelihood that the county’s economy will continue to expand and the financial position will remain strong, given a growing revenue base, formal fiscal policies, and strong governance.”
Once final ratings reports are received from all three agencies, the full reports along with excerpts from the presentation made by county staff when they visited the rating agencies in New York earlier this month, will be posted to the county’s website.