Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Moody's Gives Positive Report on County Fiscal Discipline

Amid a lot of difficult decisions and severe revenue pressures, it was gratifying that Moody's rating agency not only gave the county a "stable outlook" on our bond rating, but praised our efforts to limit spending and bring strong fiscal discipline amid this challenging environment. Moody's also noted positively our continued investment in growth measures, such as the Banks project, as a way to "grow" out of the economic difficulties we all face.

Among Moody's observations:
  • "the stable outlook is based on the newly adopted minimum General Fund reserve policies, which should prevent further narrowing of reserve levels"
  • "Progress continues on various downtown redevelopment projects, including the Banks project, which is expected to bring long-term economic benefits."
  • "Unemployment figures remain lower than the state"
  • "Moody's believes the county's financial operations are well-managed"
  • "Moody's believes that county management's demonstrated commitment to making the necessary cuts will help maintain an adequate financial position"
  • "In response to declining reserves, in September 2007, county management, with the support of elected officials, implemented key policies and set specific goals to restore reserves to healthier levels"
  • In 2008, "county administration, including elected officials, moved quickly to make the necessary reductions to close the gap" to maintain the County's reserve policy
  • "In general, the county has undertaken a broad strategic initiative targeting key financial challenges, including frequent monitoring of budget to actual financial performance and a commitment to making adjustments to insure financial targets are achieved."
  • "Moody's believes that significant efficiencies have been gained"

Finally, Moody's concluded that the stable outlook "takes into account [] the county's adopted policy to rebuild reserves, and demonstrated willingness to make difficult budgetary decisions to reduce expenditures in order to retain limited reserve levels."

No doubt, we've been making difficult decisions every step of the way, particularly since the economic slowdown began to hit. Much pain has been involved--and much of it shouldered by employees at all levels.

But as the Moody's analysis underscores, the fiscally disciplined (and pro-growth) approach we have been pursuing is the only responsible course we can take in the long run. And it is the best way to carry us through until the time that our economy--and revenues--rebound.

No comments:

Free Blog CounterEnglish German Translation