Sussex wins top-level bond rating from Wall Street firm

GEORGETOWN — Sussex County has hit a financial home run, scoring a ‘triple A’ bond rating from one of the nation’s leading investment analysis firms.

Moody’s Investors Service on Friday, July 12 upgraded the county’s general obligation bond rating – a credit score for businesses and governments – from Aa1 to Aaa, the highest rating score possible.

The shift is the first significant change in the county’s bond rating in several years and represents a first-time achievement for Sussex County government.

The credit rating upgrade “reflects the sizeable and growing tax base, extremely strong financial position and management of operations, and manageable long-term liabilities,” Moody’s said in its statement. The firm went on to praise the county for its “strong management”, its “pay-go” philosophy to funding general governmental needs without incurring significant debt, and for maintaining manageable pension liabilities by making significant contributions, all while seeing the benefits of a sizable tax base and growing local economy.

The rating upgrade means more affordable loans for the county government and makes Sussex County more attractive to investors who buy the bonds used to pay for the county’s capital projects, like public wastewater construction, for instance.

“Achieving the AAA bond rating is an historic moment for county government, and all the credit goes to our finance director, Gina Jennings, for her efforts the last several years to put the county in the best financial position possible,” Sussex County Administrator Todd F. Lawson said.
“Our taxpayers should rest assured that this government is being managed to the highest standard.”

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