County’s financial services rated ‘A+’ | RecordCourier.com

County’s financial services rated ‘A+’

Staff Reports

Douglas County’s financial management practices were rated “A+” by Standard and Poor’s rating services.

Standard and Poor’s said the strengths of the county’s management techniques were its formal financial policies, utilizing external and internal resources for budget assumptions, and engaging in multiyear financial planning, including a five-year forecast the county created this year.

County manager Steve Mokrohisky said S&P assigned its “A+” rating to Douglas County on June 27 for a 2012 general obligation bond, as well as for its long-term and underlying rating.

The county was rated by S&P as part of a bond issuance to finance the construction of the $18.5 million Douglas County Community and Senior Center.

The county was credited for working with local districts to shift property taxes, reduce and stabilize compensation for public employees, and eliminate and consolidate positions.

“We have worked hard over the past four years to responsibly manage our finances during one of the most challenging economic times in history,” Mokrohisky said.

“We welcome the A+ rating and will now focus on achieving the AA rating to continue to lower the cost to taxpayers for financing important public projects,” he said.

S&P found the county’s property tax base to be diverse, market value per capita extremely strong, median household effective buying income and low debt burden strong, and continued diversification of the economy into manufacturing and other sectors a positive trend.

S&P identified assessed value and state consolidated tax declines over the past several years, as well as annual pension obligations and dependence on tourism as challenges.

“Due to the county’s strong management policies and very strong reserves, S&P stated that it could actually raise the ratings in the future if assessed values and C-taxes establish a growth trend, and the county increases its general fund balance,” he said.

Local governments in Nevada and across the country have had their bond ratings downgraded, due to recent economic challenges, declining revenues, increasing expenses and unfunded employee benefit liabilities, he said.

Standard & Poor’s is a financial services company that publishes research and analysis on stocks and bonds.