Moody’s Investors Service has assigned its highest rating of MIG 1 to Oakland County’s $25 million General Obligation Limited Tax Notes, Series 2013 which are short-term notes. It also reaffirmed Oakland County’s Aaa bond rating with a stable outlook on the county’s outstanding long-term general obligation limited tax bonds and its certificates of participation, which funded the county’s retiree health care obligation.
Moody’s cited Medical Main Street and the county’s strong economic base as among the reasons why it granted the county its highest bond ratings. “Despite the continued presence of automotive companies, the county’s employment base also includes a number of large healthcare institutions,” Moody’s said. “Income levels remain above those of the nation, with median family income equivalent to 135 percent of the national figure.”
Patterson said Moody’s validates that Oakland County is headed in the right direction with initiatives to attract jobs in the knowledge-based economy. “Couple Moody’s analysis with our recent economic forecast of 42,000 jobs through 2015, and it is clear that Oakland County’s future is strong because of our Emerging Sectors, Medical Main Street, and Automation Alley programs.”
Moody’s also acknowledged Oakland County’s fiscal excellence. “The MIG 1 rating is based on… the strong liquidity in the county’s Delinquent Tax Revolving Fund and General Fund. Assignment of the Aaa rating reflects the county’s… solid financial operations supported by healthy reserves and strong fiscal management,” Moody’s said.
The county is $4.3 billion below its authorized debt limit. It has only $373 million of long-term general obligation debt and $443.6 million of the Series 2007 Retiree Medical Benefits Funding Trust’s Taxable Certificates of Participation outstanding. The county is in the midst of refinancing its certificates of participation with lower-interest bonds which will save county taxpayers at least $140 million during the 10-year life of the bonds.