Shelby County earns Moody’s highest financial rating

Published 2:04 pm Thursday, February 4, 2010

Shelby County has again received the highest rating awarded by Moody’s Investment Service.

Alex Dudchock, Shelby County manager, told a capacity crowd of business leaders gathered at the United Methodist Church in Columbiana for the monthly South Shelby Chamber of Commerce luncheon today that the county’s rating is AA1, the highest rating awarded.

“That’s the highest you’ll find anywhere in the nation,” Dudchock said.

The rating is an indicator of the county’s financial stability, an achievement that took Shelby County Commissioners more than 25 years to accomplish, he said. Commissioners and county department heads made tough decisions to cut expenses to get the county’s financial situation in such a good position, he said.

“We’ve already had a variety of financial institutions contact us,” Dudchock said.

The AA1 rating means Shelby County, when it seeks financing for any project, will receive less expensive finance rates and insurance the county must purchase to guarantee bonds will be less expensive, he said.

Butch Burbage, the county’s finance manager, said the rating is good news for taxpayers.

“What it basically means is the major rating services out of New York City recognize we have good financial planning and management within the county,” he said.

The county first received its AA1 rating in 2004, “and six years later, we’ve been able to maintain that AA1 rating. It tells lenders that over a longer period of time, we have had good financial management and oversight.

“What taxpayers should get out of it is, Shelby County Commissioners and others in the county are doing the right thing, managing our money properly.”