Thursday, May 18, 2017
Atlantic County government has earned an upgrade from Standard and Poor’s Rating Services with an AA long term rating with stable outlook.
The S&P report issued May 12, 2017 attributes the excellent rating to the county’s ability to maintain strong financial management and stable operations in an atmosphere of uncertainty caused by Atlantic City’s fiscal distress, as well as the county’s efforts to diversify its economic base.
The report also credits the county’s strong budgetary performance, liquidity, and institutional framework. S&P also noted the county’s low net debt of just 1.6 percent of market value with nearly 80 percent of direct debt scheduled to be repaid within 10 years as positive credit factors.
The county has shown it was able to maintain balanced operations without drawing down reserves while navigating the uncertainties during the past few fiscal years, the report explained.
“It is extremely rewarding and encouraging to not only maintain our AA rating but to improve our outlook,” said County Executive Dennis Levinson. “Despite the removal of $3.4 billion from our tax base because of the PILOT and the trials and tribulations surrounding the state takeover of Atlantic City, county residents can be assured of Atlantic County’s stability. Atlantic County stands as a model of effective and efficient government.”
S&P also recognized the county’s efforts to diversify its economy to be less dependent on casino and tourism-based employment with the formation of the Atlantic County Economic Alliance, a public-private partnership; the construction of the first building at the Stockton Aviation Research and Technology Park financed by the Atlantic County Improvement Authority; and plans to develop specialty manufacturing with the introduction of three new companies to our area.
The county’s rating could further improve if it continues to increase and maintain its reserves while moving the local economy away from its overdependence on the leisure and hospitality industry, according to S&P.