Moody’s Investor Service has affirmed the A1 rating on Laurens County outstanding rated general obligation debt, affecting $4.2 million in rated debt. A negative outlook has been removed as a result of improved financials.
A negative outlook and/or a degrade in the county’s credit rating could adversely affect the cost of borrowing money. Two years ago, Moody’s issued a negative outlook which indicated worsening financial conditions and could have resulted in a degrading of the credit rating this time.
The A1 rating reflect’s the county’s sizeable tax base, below-average resident income levels, a improved financial position with healthy reserves and liquidity, a low debt burden and an above-average, yet manageable, pension liability and fixed costs.
The removal of the negative outlook may save Laurens County taxpayers money on debt the county will soon be issuing for major construction projects. County Council has already begun the process of borrowing $3,300,000 in debt to pay for the roof and heating, ventilating and air conditioning projects at the Hillcrest Courthouse and $700,000 for stabilization of the historic courthouse.
With this timely positive bond rating by Moody’s, the county may be able to save money on this debt that is about to issued, according to Administrator Jon Caime.
Council has also had a new EMS headquarters as a top priority. That project will also require additional debt in excess of $2,000,000. Council has recognized the need to move E911, which will require future debt also in the multimillion-dollar range. In addition, there are other large projects, such as a new Law Enforcement Center and a remodeling of the historic courthouse, which will also require future debt. A positive bond rating or better bond rating will most likely save the taxpayers money when these projects are funded.