County’s improved fiscal rating means capital projects will cost less

Agencies remove ‘negative outlook' assigned to county's bond rating
County’s improved fiscal rating means capital projects will cost less

Behind-the-scenes work designed to replenish Dane County’s reserves, implement honesty in budgeting and improve the county’s fiscal standing has resulted in good news for taxpayers, according to a release.

As the county enters its 2015 budget preparations, county officials were notified that the “negative outlook” that had been put on the county’s bond rating in 2011 is being removed, officials said.

Two county bond-rating agencies praised Dane County’s restored reserve fund, according to the release. Moody’s Investments upgraded Dane County’s bond rating to stable, which is a milestone that reflects the work done to rebuild the county’s fiscal foundation.

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“It is good to receive positive feedback for sound fiscal management,” County Executive Joe Parisi said in the release. “But more importantly, this is good news for our taxpayers because capital projects will cost less due to a better borrowing rate for Dane County.”

The second bond-rating agency, Fitch Ratings, also revised the county’s fiscal outlook to stable, according to the release.

“Financial management is strong and has improved with more conservative budgeting and recent implementation of multi-year forecasting,” the Fitch Ratings release said. “Fitch believes the county has restored structural balance and demonstrated an ability to maintain adequate financial flexibility despite a 2010 state law that limits growth in property tax revenue.”

Dane County’s general reserve fund went from a negative balance during the recession to $20.9 million today, officials said.

“As county government nears the halfway point of 2014 and begins preparing the 2015 budget, there are reasons for cautious optimism, but we must be pragmatic and prudent in the current fiscal climate,” Parisi said. “Making though decisions together in recent years now means important work like cleaning up our lakes and rebuilding our roads can done at a lower cost in Dane County.”