Home Haddonfield News Standard & Poor’s upgrades Camden County’s rating

Standard & Poor’s upgrades Camden County’s rating

Standard & Poor’s upgrades Camden County’s rating

In a vote of confidence from Wall Street, Standard & Poor’s, one of the three major bond-rating agencies, upgraded Camden County’s bond rating from AA- to AA. Standard & Poor’s cited “strong budget performance” combined with “strong management” as the reason for its decision to issue the upgrade.

“This represents the highest bond rating from Standard & Poor’s in the history of Camden County,” said Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. “This upgrade is remarkable and extraordinary, especially in the shadow of the national economic malaise, and can be traced to the county’s fiscal restraint and business-like approach in cutting the cost of government.”

Standard & Poor’s credit analyst, Timothy Barrett, said the upgrade reflects continued “population and assessed value growth, driven by available land, desirable residential communities, and commercial development.” This information combined with “management’s conservative budgeting practices” provides the residents and businesses with confidence in the financial stewardship of their county government.

The rating agency said the upgrade also reflects continued economic expansion with easy access to significant employment centers in the greater Philadelphia area, good overall financial performance and moderate overall debt burden. In addition, county debt is being paid back at a “better than average” level retiring 73 percent of principal in the next 10 years.

Freeholder Deputy Director Ed McDonnell said the board has worked hard to cut costs while preserving its core mission to the 522,809 residents of Camden County.

“Contributing to the good financial performance cited by S&P, is the fact that we have brought costs under control by reducing personnel more than 32 percent since 2004 and made common sense enhancements to our overall operations,” McDonnell explained. “This new rating is recognition that Camden County is being well managed as it works through a difficult economic environment. We are making tough, smart choices with our workforce, sound spending decisions and continuing to provide essential services to our residents.”

The AA bond rating allows the Freeholder Board to pay very low interest rates on bonds, which fund capital projects in the county such as road or bridge repairs and facility upgrades to county owned facilities.

Art Campbell, president, CEO of Camden County Regional Chamber of Commerce offered his congratulations to the Freeholders for achieving the highest bond rating in county history.

“The rating upgrade reflects solid financial management and the taxpayers of the county will benefit from the lower borrowing rates that result,” Campbell said.

The rating upgrade applies to all debt guaranteed by Camden County, including debt of the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority (CCMUA) and the Camden County Improvement Authority (CCIA).

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