Moody's And S&P Give New Hanover County Top Bond Rating

By Staff Reports, posted May 30, 2023

Bond-rating agencies Moody’s Investor Services and Standard & Poor’s have both assigned New Hanover County a Triple-A bond rating on its general obligation bonds, the highest rating possible, according to a county news release.

New Hanover County has had a Triple-A bond rating with Moody’s since 2010, while S&P began rating the county at the Triple-A level in 2013, the release stated.

“Maintaining this mark for more than a decade speaks volumes about the fiscal responsibility of our Board of Commissioners and dedication of our staff in service to the community,” said New Hanover County Manager Chris Coudriet in the release. “Navigating the financial uncertainty the last few years that our world has faced has truly been a challenge, so to be Triple-A rated once again, despite all the difficulties we’ve seen, is a special accomplishment.”

Factors that go into the bond ratings include the size of the county’s tax base, its overall economy, its financial flexibility and reserves, manageable fixed cost burden and the county’s management practices and policies.

According to the release, "Being Triple-A rated helps New Hanover County get the best interest rates when implementing vital capital projects, which can save taxpayers potentially millions of dollars."

The county's top bond rating has been a factor in discussions with the Local Government Commission about funding Project Grace, a redevelopment project that would transform a county-owned block in downtown Wilmington into new public and private facilities.

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