On July 30th, Moody’s Investors Service assigned its ‘Aa1’ rating to St. Croix County’s $10 million General Obligation (GO) Promissory Notes, Series 2014A. The ‘Aa1’ rating is the second-highest offered by bond rating agency. Bond buyers use the rating as a measure of creditworthiness when considering the purchase of bonds as an investment.
Proceeds of St. Croix’s notes will finance the costs of various improvements to county facilities and the purchase of equipment and software for the county’s emergency communications system.
“Moody’s rating of Aa1 reaffirms the strong financial position of St. Croix County,” said Patrick Thompson, St. Croix County Administrator. “As the fastest growing county in the state we are prepared to provide high quality public service to all of our citizens today and into the future.”
In its rating report to the county, Moody’s said the ‘Aa1’ rating reflects the county’s growing tax base on the western edge of Wisconsin, along with a strong resident income profile, a healthy financial position evidenced by eight consecutive operating surpluses, and a modest debt burden. As strengths, Moody’s noted that residents benefit from employment opportunities in the Twin Cities, a history of operating surpluses, and minimal pension pressures.
Moody’s uses nine symbols, ranging from Aaa to C, to designate least credit risk to greatest credit risk. To further refine the credit ratings, numerical modifiers 1, 2, and 3 are assigned to the rating classification. The highest rating available is ‘Aaa’ which is considered the highest quality and lowest credit risk. A ‘C’ rating from Moody’s is the lowest quality and has a low likelihood of recovering principal or interest. St. Croix’s rating of ‘Aa1’ is considered high quality and a very low credit risk.
Tabatha Hanson serves as the County Finance Director. The Finance Department provides a centralized financial management system for county government. This provides the County Administrative and County Board with financial data and recommendations that contribute to the making of informed financial decisions for St. Croix County. The Finance Department is involved with the accounting, payroll, budgeting and auditing functions of the county.