New Hanover County maintains outstanding credit worthiness as Moody’s and Stand & Poor’s (S&P) issued the county top honors on its general obligation bonds.
The county has received a rating of Aaa from Moody’s since 2010 and AAA by S&P since 2013, the highest honor from both investment agencies—making the county double, triple A rated.
According to a news release issued by New Hanover County officials, as a double, triple A rated county, New Hanover County is in the top 3 percent of all counties across the country— approximately 80 of the nation’s 3,069 counties with only six other counties in North Carolina achieving a similar rating.
County officials also cited a report from Moody’s, which noted the outlook for New Hanover County is stable with an expectation of “continued sound financial performance, conservative budgeting practices and growth within the county’s local tax base.”
“The county taxpayers have every reason to have confidence in the efficacy of its county government,” according to County Manager Chris Coudriet. “Being double, triple A rated did not happen by chance or luck. It’s a testament to strong, thoughtful leadership from the top by the board of commissioners, and it’s reflective of a highly capable and professional staff that offer sound policy options to the board with the long view in mind. New Hanover County, by any measure, is a safe, healthy, and secure community, and it also reflects a smart investment.”
County investments that have utilized the bond market include $160 million in local school district construction and renovation projects and $40 million for Cape Fear Community College approved by county commissioners in 2014. The CFCC bonds would finish out $164 million in debt that county voters approved in a 2008 referendum, which authorized construction that has included the college’s Union Station building, a related parking deck and the Humanities and Fine Arts Center in downtown Wilmington.
The New Hanover County 2015-16 budget included a 2-cent property tax increase to begin paying off the debt on both of the CFCC and K-12 education bond issues, which according to Coudriet, will be take about 20 years to fulfill completely.
James Mieczkowski is a news reporter for Port City Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter: @mieczkowskiPCD