Orange County maintains Triple-A bond rating

ORANGE COUNTY, N.C. (October 16, 2017) -- Orange County has again received a Triple-A bond rating, the highest rating a county can achieve, from all three major ratings services -- Moody’s Investor Services, Standard & Poor’s Rating Services (S&P) and Fitch ratings. This rating will ensure the county receives the lowest possible interest rates on any upcoming bond issuances, including the bonds approved by county voters in November 2016. According to Orange County Chief Financial Officer Gary Donaldson, the rating could save the county more than $150,000 in interest payments over the life of the bonds when compared to what a Double-A rated county would pay.

"The ratings reflect the financial strength and sound fiscal management of Orange County," said Orange County Manager Bonnie Hammersley. "These ratings mean the county will be able to finance the school bonds with the lowest possible interest rates, saving county taxpayers in potential interest payments. The budgetary policies approved by the Board of Commissioners and the sound financial management from our staff have enabled us to achieve this level of excellence."

The rating agencies each cited various factors for affirming the Triple-A ratings. Standard & Poor's cited the county’s strong local economy as well as "strong" county management and "good" financial policies and practices. S&P gave the county a stable outlook, which means it will not change its rating over the next two years.

Moody's credited the county's sizable, growing tax base and its location adjacent to the Research Triangle Park. The report cited the county's "long-standing history of conservative budgetary practice and prudent policies."

Moody's and S&P each cited the county's ongoing efforts to increase commercial development, and both reports cited the recruitment of a Wegmans grocery store to Chapel Hill.

Fitch said the county's "strong growth prospects, ample reserves and broad budgetary tools" as reasons it maintained the county's AAA rating.

Fewer than three percent of the nation's more than 3,000 counties are rated Triple-A by all three agencies, Hammersley said.