Whatcom County bond rating improves

The Bellingham Business Journal

Moody’s Investors Service reset Whatcom County’s Municipal Scale Rating to a Global Scale Rating, which boosted the county’s bond rating from A1 to Aa3. That means more favorable interest rates on bonds, should Whatcom County Council decide to issue any.

Whatcom County Executive Pete Kremen said this is good news for the county.

“I’m very pleased that in these challenging economic times we have some good news,” Kremen said. “We run a very tight financial ship and that stewardship of public money is being recognized.”

This change is considered a “recalibration” as Moody’s transitions from a standalone municipal scale rating to a global scale rating that covers all municipal and corporate debt issues.

“Should the county decide to issue debt in the future, we will be able to acquire favorable interest rates with this solid investment grade rating,” Whatcom County Treasurer Steve Oliver. “This rating reaffirms the relative strength of municipal debt issues, in general, and Whatcom County specifically.”

The county treasurer routinely provides audited financial statements to the rating agencies so that they can monitor the county’s financial health and provide an accurate assessment for the issuance of bonds.

“Whether you are a government, business or individual wanting to borrow money, you have to demonstrate a strong ability to repay your obligations,” Oliver said. “The scrutiny in the public bond markets is very thorough, especially in the current financial climate. To maintain this rating, the county will continue to demonstrate that it can operate within a sustainable long-term financial plan.”

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