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Burlington County Freeholder Director Kate Gibbs today announced that Moody’s Investors Service, a leading provider of credit ratings, research, and risk analysis, upgraded the County’s credit rating this week citing a sizeable tax base with strong wealth, improved financial position, and manageable debt burden. This significant milestone comes as the Freeholder Board continually upholds a proud tradition of doing more with less and making Burlington County government the most fiscally responsible in the state of New Jersey.
“This is a phenomenal achievement and a true testament to our year-after-year commitment to cutting property taxes, while finding innovative ways to reduce spending and making government more efficient,” said Freeholder Director Gibbs, who added the credit rating upgrade is expected to provide the County with more than $1 million in interest savings over the next five years by accessing even lower rates. “Our staff deserves a tremendous amount of recognition for their years of hard work and dedication. This credit rating upgrade strongly positions the county to continue to invest in the programs that matter most, like improving our roads, making our schools safer, and providing affordable pathways to higher education.”
The national credit rating agency said Thursday that it has upgraded the County’s outstanding general obligation rating to Aa1 from Aa2, the highest rating the County has ever received. The Aa1 rating means the County’s finances are judged to be of high quality and are subject to very low credit risk. At the same time, the agency awarded an Aa1 rating to the 2018 Burlington County Bridge Commission’s $30.9 million county-guaranteed pooled loan revenue bonds program. This important shared service allows participating municipalities to utilize the County’s strong credit rating to borrow at far more favorable rates than on their own. Since the inception of the program, municipalities and their taxpayers have saved $13 million in borrowing costs, which will only increase going forward.
“I am pleased Moody’s has recognized our fiscally responsible approach to managing the county’s finances like a household budget,” added Freeholder Director Gibbs. “Delivering real results and improving the quality of life of our residents will remain a top priority of ours.”
Since 2008, the Freeholder Board has cut the total county property tax levy by close to $10 million, saving Burlington County residents a cumulative amount of more than $105 million. By comparison, all other counties in the state have had an average cumulative increase of $188 million during the same period.
The Freeholder Board has also remained committed to finding innovative, cost-effective ways to reduce government spending. With the recently adopted 2018 budget, Burlington County is able to maintain the lowest annual cost per resident in the state at nearly half the amount of the statewide average, while delivering top-rate county services.
And, most notably, figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show that in Burlington County the median household income increased by 6 percent in recent years, rising from under $76,000 to over $80,000, while at the same time the county’s poverty rate declined by more than 2%; both well ahead of the other counties in this region.