Credit agency upgrades DeKalb County’s financial rating, cites “solid management”

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Moody’s Investors Service, a bond credit rating agency, has upgraded DeKalb County’s credit rating.

Moody’s upgraded the rating on DeKalb’s outstanding (general obligation unlimited tax (GOULT) bonds to Aa2, up from Aa3. The upgrade affects $226 million in outstanding general obligation bonds.

Moody’s reported on Aug. 17 that it upgraded DeKalb’s rating because of the county’s “healthy and improved financial position driven by solid management and conservative budgeting.”

“The stable outlook reflects the expectation that the county’s financial position will remain sound because of conservative budget assumptions and commitment to maintaining structural balance,” Moody’s stated. “We do not see any material immediate credit risks for DeKalb County.”

“This credit rating upgrade is the result of DeKalb County’s unwavering commitment to fiscal integrity and accountability,” said DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond. “It is highly unusual for a governmental entity to be upgraded during an economic recession when dwindling financial reserves, furloughs and budget cuts are the order of the day.”

The credit rating improvement is the result of prudent decisions by the Thurmond administration and the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners during the past four budget cycles.

Key financial milestones include elimination of a $24.7 million structural deficit, establishment of a $110 million rainy-day fund and adoption of a FY2020 budget that anticipated the onset of a severe economic downturn.

“Much like the hard-working ants in Aesop’s fable, we built our financial reserves during periods of economic growth. Thus, we are better positioned to protect DeKalb’s quality of life from the health and economic crisis that is buffeting the American economy,” CEO Thurmond said.


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