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Albemarle County Newsroom
 


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County Receives AAA Rating from Fitch, Reaffirmed AAA Rating from Moodys and AAA from Standard & Poor's
11/11/2013

Albemarle one of only 39 Counties Nationally to Achieve this Triple AAA Rating

Albemarle County joins an elite group of counties nationwide to have received a triple AAA credit rating with its recent first assignment from Fitch Ratings and reaffirmation from both Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's Ratings Services following a comprehensive assessment by the rating agencies. All three agencies noted the county's strong financial management track record, revenue stability, healthy economic profile and low debt burden in making the AAA assignment. Nationally only 39 Counties are rated AAA by all three agencies.

The AAA credit ratings benefit County citizens in a number of ways, including providing Albemarle with a lower cost of borrowing to finance county capital projects. The ratings also indicate the type of well-managed fiscal environment that makes the county attractive to businesses and signals a sound and stable long-term economic climate that protects and enhances residents' commercial and property investments.

Fitch awarded Albemarle a AAA rating in its first review of the County, citing a sound financial track record, revenue stability, low debt, favorable employment and income metrics, and healthy general fund position among other factors.

In reaffirming its AAA rating, Standard and Poor's stated that the rating "reflects our view of the county's consistently very strong financial operations with historically very strong budgetary flexibility and liquidity levels, which is supported by very strong management. We believe that the county's strong financial operations will continue.” Moody's AAA evaluation cited the County's "strong financial management marked by healthy reserve levels, a wealthy and vibrant economy boosted by the University of Virginia, and a low debt burden."

"We are very pleased and gratified to receive triple AAA credit ratings at a time when we continue to experience some challenges from an uncertain national and state economic climate," said County Executive Tom Foley in announcing the results of the agencies' review. "We appreciate the confidence shown by these three independent, internationally recognized financial institutions which measured us against the very best communities across the country, and their favorable assessment speaks well of our strong fiscal policies and budgetary practices and the overall quality of life we enjoy here in the county."

The strong rating affirmations provided significant savings to the County this week when the County sold lease revenue bonds to finance its capital program. The winning bid on the bonds was 3.47% versus a blended planning estimate of 4.62%. The final sizing versus budgeted estimates translates into total interest savings of $4.6 million over the life of the bonds.

"We were delighted with the results of the bond sale last Tuesday morning", said Courtney Rogers, Senior Vice President with Davenport & Company LLC as Financial Advisor to the County. "The County received eight bids for the bonds. By virtue of the County's excellent credit ratings we saw the winning bid by Morgan Stanley & Co, LLC of New York beat out Robert W. Baird & Co., Inc. by six basis points. We would typically expect to see a cover bid of only one or two basis points. This strong bid speaks to the desirability of these bonds with Albemarle's name on it."


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