Standard and Poor’s bumps county’s credit rating higher

Published 4:58 pm Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Shelby County got another financial vote of confidence March 19 as Standard and Poor’s, a financial ratings service, elevated the county’s rating to an AA+.

Previously, the county held a credit rating of AA-. The highest rating Standard and Poor’s gives is an AAA.

In February, Moody’s Investment Service gave the county its highest credit rating of AA1.

Standard and Poor’s upgraded its rating in response to the county’s strong financial position, as shown by sound reserves and low debt burden. The rating also reflects the county’s fast-growing population, strong income levels and good financial management practices, according to a Standard and Poor’s press release.

“The stable outlook reflects Standard and Poor’s expectation that the county should continue to demonstrate balanced operations and a sound general fund position while executing its capital plan and managing population growth,” the press release read.

County Commission chairperson Lindsey Allison said she believes the Standard and Poor’s rating, coming on the heels of the Moody’s rating, is a sign county leadership is doing the right thing.

“It’s pretty phenomenal we got both of those ratings. I doubt there’s many local governments in this country that have gotten both of these outstanding ratings, and that says a lot,” Allison said. “We must be doing something right.”

County Manager Alex Dudchock wrote in an e-mail the Standard and Poor’s rating was a result of smart planning and budgeting.

“We are proud to have received this excellent rating and it is because our County Commission and management team work diligently at budgeting and living within our revenue means,” Dudchock wrote. “As with other county-based employers, both private and public entities, the majority of our county departments are having to operate with less personnel and funding. The rating is primarily due to the County Commission executing conservative budget management practices.”