On Tuesday, November 6, 2018, Moody’s Investors Service (Moody’s) assigned its highest credit rating to Goochland County.
In receiving the Aaa rating in its first-ever attempt, Goochland also becomes the smallest county in the United States to be rated Aaa by Moody’s, as currently no other county with a population under 75,000 is designated Aaa. By comparison, Goochland County’s current population is approximately 23,000.
Ken Peterson, Goochland County Board of Supervisors, John Budesky, County Administrator, and Barbara Horlacher, Director of Financial Services, along with PFM, the County’s financial advisor met with Moody’s analysts in October to tell Goochland’s story. County officials highlighted Goochland’s strengths in management and leadership, the local economy, planned growth, strategic planning, and most importantly in financial management, including strength in the areas of budgetary performance and financial flexibility and liquidity during the meeting.
Ken Peterson, Chairman of the Goochland County Board of Supervisors and representative from District 5, shared, "We are very pleased that Moody’s has awarded its highest rating to Goochland County. The Moody’s Aaa credit rating, along with our existing S&P AAA credit rating, serves as further affirmation of the County's financial health. Goochland will benefit from this rating in many ways, including an enhanced ability to attract and retain businesses, improved access to the capital markets on very favorable terms, and it will provide a transparent metric for citizens to track the financial health of their County.”
Goochland County initially received a credit rating of AAA from S&P in 2015, becoming the smallest County in Virginia to receive that rating. Goochland County becomes the smallest county in the United States to hold both a Aaa credit rating from Moody’s and a AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor’s Rating Services (S&P).
According to County Administrator John Budesky, “The citizens of Goochland are fortunate to have a financially conservative Board of Supervisors, committed constitutional officers, and excellent school partners that serve as exceptional stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars, and who are committed to maintaining and strengthening the county’s financial policies. Our strong policies exemplify a commitment to excellence in financial management and our planning positions us for future success.”
In assigning the rating to Goochland County, Moody’s noted, “The Aaa long-term issuer rating reflects our assessment of Goochland County's implicit general obligation credit strength and incorporates a strong reserve and liquidity position that is strengthened by management's adherence to well-developed fiscal policies, a growing tax base that is small compared to similarly-rated counties nationwide, above-average resident income levels, and manageable debt and pension burdens.”
“Goochland County has been able to achieve Moody’s highest rating thanks to the leadership of the Board of Supervisors, the hard work of Goochland County employees, and the support of Goochland County citizens,” added Barbara Horlacher, Director of Financial Services.
Moody’s concludes its assessment stating, “The stable outlook reflects our expectation that Goochland County's reserve and liquidity position will remain strong, supported by formal fiscal policies, and that the favorable trajectory of the local economy will continue to drive growth in taxable assessed values.”