Moody's and S&P underscore Morris County's strong economic stability and proactive financial management
In a remarkable achievement marking nearly five decades of financial stability, Morris County has once again earned the topmost AAA rating from both Moody’s Investor Services and Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings.
This assessment of the county's robust finances marks the 48th consecutive year that the county has garnered this esteemed rating.
Moody's praised Morris County's financial acumen in their May 23 analysis, attributing the AAA issuer rating to the county's "strong and diverse economy, very high wealth and resident income, healthy reserve levels, and exceptionally strong, proactive financial management."
Similarly, the Standard & Poor’s summary, released on May 30, also predicted a bright outlook for the county, noting its consistent positive financial performance over the past three fiscal years due to prudent budgeting.
The report cited the county's growth in the commercial, retail, and housing sectors, and its ability to keep expenses on target while surpassing revenue expectations.
The annual ratings review for 2023 considered approximately $21.5 million in General Obligation Bonds issued by the county. These bonds included $17.1 million for general improvement, $427,000 for parks, and $4 million for the County College of Morris.
Deborah Smith, chair of the budget committee for the Morris County Board of County Commissioners, stressed the significance of retaining the AAA rating. "Just like a personal credit rating, our AAA rating greatly benefits all Morris County taxpayers. It means savings on interest fees when we borrow for vital community infrastructure projects, translating to tax breaks for everyone - from small businesses and working families to corporate giants and major property owners."
In a noteworthy observation, Standard & Poor’s indicated that Morris County's rating surpassed even that of the federal government, citing the county's independent treasury management and taxing authority and locally derived revenue.
Moody’s highlighted the county's financial strength as being backed by its sizeable and diverse economy, stable employer presence, and its exceptional, proactive financial management.
Meanwhile, Standard & Poor’s underscored the county's strong local economy, stable budgetary performance, and "very strong management with strong financial-management practices and policies".
This included long-term financial and capital improvement planning, formal investment and debt management policies, and a reserve policy that maintains a minimum unreserved fund balance of 12% of expenditures.
This consistent AAA rating underscores the county's commitment to robust and sustainable economic growth and affirms its reputation for strong, responsible financial stewardship.
Morris County residents can take pride in their community's enduring financial strength and resilience, which promises a brighter future for all.