LANE COUNTY ACHIEVES ITS BEST CREDIT RATING EVER as a result of five years of excellent leadership in financial management. by Pat Farr

STARTING SIX YEARS AGO Lane County Board of Commissioners has overseen continuing excellence in financial management

 

On Wednesday July 17 I received this message about Lane County’s continuing improvement in financial management that has resulted in its second credit rating upgrade:

“Dear Pat:

“Citing “prudent, proactive leadership,” Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded Lane County’s credit rating from Aa2 to Aa1, which is the second highest rating it provides.
 
“This latest upgrade is a result of diligent efforts over several years to create structurally balanced budgets, lower debt, manage benefit costs and increase reserves.

“In addition to financial stewardship of taxpayer resources, Lane County has also stabilized and increased service levels in several critical areas, including public health, safety and infrastructure.

“Moody’s highlighted Lane County’s “strong finances, prudent management and low debt” as strengths that led to its decision to upgrade the County’s rating. In its credit analysis, released on July 15, 2019, Moody’s stated that Lane County’s “five year operating history was unusually strong for 2014-2018” due to prudent financial management. It also noted: “The fiscal 2020 budget marks the third consecutive budget without draws on reserves to support operations, and did not include layoffs or service reductions” and “employee healthcare benefit costs remain in-check for the fourth consecutive year.”

“This decision is particularly notable given the fact that Lane County receives the third lowest per capita local revenue among the 36 counties in Oregon. Our focus is to make sound financial decisions with our limited resources by proactively managing expenses and investing in services that improve lives in Lane County.

“In 2017, Moody’s upgraded Lane County’s credit rating from Aa3 to Aa2. Additionally, independent financial auditor Moss Adams, LLP has rated Lane County as a low-risk auditee for several years in a row. In 2016, the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office removed Lane County from a list of high-risk counties in regard to its financial health due to the County’s efforts to create long-term financial stability.”

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