Standard and Poor’s Increases St. Johns County Credit Rating Two Levels from AA- to AA+
St. Johns County, FL. – Citing St. Johns County’s strong economy, per capita buying power, and low unemployment rate, national ratings services agency Standard and Poor’s increased the County’s Issuer Credit Rating two levels from AA- to AA+ in February.
According to the agency, the County’s strong budgetary flexibility and available reserves supported the decision to upgrade the rating. In addition, Standard and Poor’s cited optimistic expenditure savings and revenue increase projections, and additional flexibility provided by St. Johns County’s relatively low tax structure as factors that contributed to the rating increase. The agency also cited what they consider very strong liquidity in the County’s finances, good financial practices, and strong management conditions.
“When a reputable agency such as Standard and Poor’s increases your credit rating two levels to an AA+ it’s a testament to the current management practices and financial strategies the Board of County Commissioners and Administration are utilizing to manage the county,” said Jay Morris, St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners Chairman. “Combined with the county’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award and the Sunny award for transparency, the rating upgrade is confirmation that St. Johns County has successfully navigated the recession and maintained a high quality of life with conservative budgeting practices.”
A high Issuer Credit Rating is an evaluation of an organization’s financial stability and can greatly reduce the interest rates St. Johns County could pay when financing new capital improvement projects, thus producing a significant cost savings for St. Johns County taxpayers. A summary released by Standard and Poor’s, noted that St. Johns County’s projected per capita buying income is rated at 137.8% of the national rate and the County’s unemployment rate of 4.7% has continually dropped and is well below the state and national rate. In addition to the organization’s recognition of the County’s sound financial practices, the Government Finance Officers Association has recognized St. Johns County with the Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards for 21 consecutive years and the Sunshine Review honored the County with the Sunny Award for transparency for the past two consecutive years.
“Standard and Poor’s rating increase comes at a time when many counties are struggling with severe financial hardships and their bond ratings are being reduced. It’s especially significant that we would not only have this rating increase, but may also be considered for an additional upgrade if the current financial practices remain in place,” said Morris. “We continually strive to be good stewards of the taxpayer’s money and this is one more example of how successful our current leadership is in working on behalf of St. Johns County residents and businesses.”