S&P Global Ratings has assigned an AA+ and Moody’s Investor Services has assigned an Aa1 rating to Will County’s upcoming $175M bond issuance. This review process also resulted in an affirmation of these ratings to the county’s existing debt. The ratings were based upon key rating drivers such as healthy reserves supported by strong financial operations, a robust regional economy, and manageable long-term liabilities. Each agency also assigned a “stable outlook” to the county based upon these attributes.
“Due to Will County’s fiscally conservative approach, we have maintained this AA+ rating from S&P since 2008,” said Will County Executive Larry Walsh. “Will County is able to pay its bills and when many governmental bodies are facing challenging financial outlooks, Will County is fiscally sound and moving forward.”
In 2008, Will County established a policy of maintaining 22 to 26 percent of its annual corporate budget in a cash reserve fund. These monies were set aside to strengthen the county’s financial profile and to ensure a consistent cash balance for county operations.
Will County was noted for consistently maintaining operating surpluses and a strong financial reserve fund in accordance with county policy. The county is also recognized for its expanding role as a transportation and logistics hub in the Chicago metropolitan region which contributes to its strong local economy.
“These great bond ratings are a reflection of the Board’s fiscally responsible policies and decisions over many years,” said Board Speaker Jim Moustis. “We were all elected to make sure resident’s tax
dollars are wisely spent and invested, and I am proud of the work we have done to achieve a strong financial standing in the eyes of global investors.”
“Will County’s strategic location and skilled workforce continue to make us attractive to both commercial and industrial business,” Walsh said. “I believe our responsible financial approach and investment in our infrastructure are the keys to our continued success in growing our local economy.”
The Moody’s report stated the expectation of the county’s financial position remaining strong as it is supported by sound financial management practices. And the S&P ratings report reflected a similar opinion in the country’s economic strength due to anticipated increases in equalized assessed valuations and per capita buying income.
“We are working hard to set an example for other government agencies around the state and even around the nation,” said Mike Fricilone (R-Homer Glen), Chair of the Board’s Finance Committee. “Will County is operating with an excellent set of financial plans and practicing conservative budgeting, all while keeping taxes low. Looking ahead, we will continue to find ways to improve and strengthen our position.”
“As we move forward with our major capital projects, S&P and Moody’s ratings are of great significance,” said Ragan Freitag (R-Wilmington), Chair of the Board’s Capital Improvements Committee. “These solid bond ratings will keep borrowing costs at a minimum and keep money in our citizen’s pockets, as we build a Will County for generations to come.”