Moody’s Investors Service (dated 9-10-14) affirmed Columbia County’s general obligation bond rating at Aa3. This credit rating means “high quality and very low credit risk, Prime-1, best ability to repay short term debt.” In doing so, they have also removed the “negative” outlook.
Moody’s cites Columbia County’s strengths as: “Moderate-sized tax base that experienced real market value growth in 2014” and “willingness on the part of management to make expenditure cuts.” They further expected the county to experience “positive financial operations moving forward.”
Moody’s cites challenges as: “Uncertainty regarding receipt of federal revenues” (referring to the historic O&C federal revenues the County has depended on to provide basic services) and an “elevated pension burden.”
This positive financial news comes on the heels of Columbia County’s Finance Department being given The Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Award by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR).
This program was initiated in 1945 to encourage and assist local governments in the United States and Canada to “go beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles” and prepare full and comprehensive financial reports that show transparency and full disclosure.