MORRISTOWN, NJ - Morris County has received the top-ranked Triple A bond rating from the nation’s two largest rating agencies, announced the Morris County Freeholders. Moody’s Investors Services, Inc., and Standard & Poor’s, which once again lauded the county’s stable management practices and fiscal policies, they said.
The Triple A rating, which has been awarded to the county for a 44th straight year, benefits residents by allowing the county to take advantage of the best possible interest and financing rates, saving taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, said the freeholders in a statement. Currently, the difference in interest that Morris County would pay on a 10-year Triple A bond is 35 basis points lower than a lower-ranked Single A bond and 10 basis points lower than a Double A bond. The county’s Triple A rating for an upcoming $32.5 million bond sale will cost county taxpayers about $640,000 less in interest than if the county had a Single A rating and $165,000 less than if the county had a Double A rating, they stated.
S&P, in its analysis of the county, said its top rating for Morris County is based on severalfactors: the county’s “very strong economy, very strong management, strong budgetary
performance, very strong budget flexibility, very strong liquidity, and strong institutional framework.’’
Moody’s once again touted the county’s history of conservative budgeting, mixed with financially sound initiatives -- such as the lease of the Morris View Healthcare Center,
designed to improve the financial position of the county, as reasons for the top ranking. It also praised the county’s sound debt policy, its substantial and diverse tax base and
highly dependable revenue streams.
“Management has a history and formal policy of budgeting conservatively and maintaining a healthy level of fund balance … and Moody’s expects the county’s economic tax base and finances to remain stable going forward,’’ according to the latest Moody’s report.
The 2019 renewed Triple A ratings were made after a county finance team, comprised of Freeholders, the County Administrator, County Treasurer, and others made presentations to the ratings agencies last month in New York.
“It is very difficult to achieve a Triple A rating,’’ said Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo, a member of the Freeholders’ Budget Subcommittee. “By giving us a Triple A, the rating agencies are signaling that our government and financial practices are excellent, which is a benefit to county taxpayers.’’