Standard & Poor’s Raises County Bond Rating
Fincastle, VA – Botetourt County has recently received a higher grade from a credit rating agency. Standard and Poor?s (S&P?s) Ratings Services raised to „AA+? from „AA-? its underlying rating on the County?s general obligation (GO) bonds S&P?s two-increment upgrade is based on strong management conditions and budgetary performance and reflects the County?s strong wealth and buying income, very low unemployment levels, strong financial position and management policies, and low debt profile.
The ratings report further noted that the County?s strong budgetary flexibility and available fund balance are good indicators for the future. Results for year-end 2013 reflected conservative budgeting and higher-than-projected revenue, with increases in real estate and property tax revenues as a result of tax rate increases. The report also cited very strong liquidity of cash levels to adequately cover debt service and expenditures, with a total-government-available cash ratio of 32.3% of total general fund expenditures. The County?s financial management policies are considered “strong” under S&P?s Financial Management Assessment. This indicates the County?s financial practices are strong, well-embedded, and likely sustainable.
“This rating upgrade is a reflection of prudent financial and operational guidance from the County?s Board of Supervisors over the past few challenging years and the County?s and School administration?s ability to manage through recent difficult times,” stated Kathleen D. Guzi, County Administrator. “It also reflects well on the citizens? support of Botetourt County?s strategic priorities and the services enjoyed in the County.” Dr. Mac Scothorn, Chairman of the Board of Super-visors, welcomed the news and noted that he looks forward to the County?s continuing efforts to grow its economy.
With respect to current credit ratings from the other two major ratings agencies, in 2010, Fitch Ratings awarded Botetourt an AA+ rating with stable outlook and Moody?s deemed Botetourt an Aa2 credit rating with a stable outlook. Botetourt remainsthe highest bond-rated county in Virginia for its population size.