Delaware County’s credit rating has been upgraded from AA1 rating to AAA by Moody’s Investors Service, according to Delaware County Auditor George Kaitsa.
Kaitsa told The Gazette Monday afternoon that Standard & Poor’s has reaffirmed the county’s current AAA rating with that firm.
“This is the first time in the history of Delaware County to have two AAA ratings,” he said Monday afternoon.
AAA is the highest rating that can be achieved, he said. He estimated the new rating from Moody’s will save the county $107,000 in interest over the life of the bonds for the county’s new judicial building.
Kaitsa gave the news about Moody’s to county commissioners Monday. “It is my distinct honor to report to you that Moody’s has upgraded Delaware County from its current rating of AA1 to an AAA,” Kaitsa told commissioners Monday morning.
Kaitsa reported that only 80 counties out of 3,140 in the country have a AAA rating. The last Ohio county to receive the AAA rating by Moody’s was Franklin County in 1990 when Kaitsa was the financial director there.
“It puts us in elite company in the country,” Commissioner Gary Merrell said.
Kaitsa pointed out some of the county’s strengths that Moody’s based its decision. “The credit strengths recognized were a large tax base with a strong demographic profile, the expected maintenance of a healthy financial position, solid revenue growth and strong financial management practices,” he said. “This rating reflects the leadership provided by an outstanding group of elected officials in Delaware County as well as the strength of the Delaware economy.”
“The history shows the numbers have been extremely good for a long time,” Commissioner Jeff Benton said. “This is really a complement to the county.”
County officials say they have worked to upgrade planning tools to maintain strong numbers into the future. “It is a real honor,” Benton said. “I just want to compliment everyone in involved. It really is a real honor and well-deserved recognition of how strong the county really is and how strong the future looks.”
The time seems appropriate to start looking at “branding our county and really putting our name out there,” Merrell said.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.