National financial experts: Dane County in better fiscal health
July 14, 2014
Melanie Conklin, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823
Moody’s and Fitch applaud restored reserve fund, upgrade ratings
Improving Dane County’s fiscal standing isn’t glamorous – but steady, behind-the-scenes work, designed to replenish Dane County’s reserves and implement truth in budgeting, has resulted in good news for taxpayers as the county enters its 2015 budget preparations.
Both county bond-rating agencies -- Moody’s Investments and Fitch Ratings – praised Dane County’s restored reserve fund. And Moody’s recently notified the county that it is removing the “negative outlook” that had been put on Dane County’s bond rating in 2011. The upgrade to “stable” is a significant financial milestone and a turn of events that recognizes the work done to rebuild Dane County’s fiscal foundation.
“It is good to receive positive feedback for sound fiscal management,” said County Executive Joe Parisi. “But more importantly, this is good news for our taxpayers because capital projects will cost less due to a better borrowing rate for Dane County.”
A Fitch Ratings release revised Dane County’s fiscal outlook to stable and added: “Financial management is strong and has improved with more conservative budgeting and recent implementation of multi-year forecasting.”
The release continued: “Fitch believes the county has restored structural balance and demonstrated an ability to maintain adequate financial flexibility despite a 2010 state law that limits growth in property tax revenue.”
Moody’s also removed its negative outlook and awarded a Aa1 rating to Dane County citing these a “stable and strong local economy,” the General Fund reserve and limited fixed obligations.”
Dane County’s general reserve fund has gone from a negative balance during the recession to $20.9 million today.
“As county government nears the halfway point of 2014 and begins preparing the 2015 budget, there are reasons for cautious optimism, but we must be pragmatic and prudent in the current fiscal climate,” Parisi added. “Making tough decisions together in recent years now means important work like cleaning up our lakes and rebuilding our roads can be done at a lower cost in Dane County.”