The world’s largest credit rating agency has affirmed one of its most stable ratings for Mobile County, noting the region’s ongoing economic development activity and consistently “strong budgetary performance.”
The Mobile County Commission announced the affirmation after Standard and Poor’s, which rates entities’ ability to meet their long-term financial obligations, affirmed its “AA” rating for the county Thursday.
The “AA” designation is given to entities that demonstrate a “very strong capacity” to meet their financial commitments and is second only to the S&P “AAA” rating.
In a statement explaining the decision, S&P said the county’s “strong” financial management has left it in a position to pay of its existing debt fully and on time.
It also noted the county has maintained a surplus in its general fund since 2016, and has established formal policies for managing its investments and outstanding debt.
Another factor weighed was the area’s “broad and diverse” economy, which has grown in recent years through continued economic development.
Since 2016, the county has seen the addition of a $135 million Wal-Mart distribution center, a $30 million Amazon sortation center as well as a second production line at aerospace manufacturer Airbus’ $600 million final assembly plant in Mobile.
Also spotlighted was the county’s use of a “rolling 10-year capital improvement plan (CIP),” which was favorable to S&P because it identifies funding for specific initiatives and is updated every two years.In fact, just this week, Commissioners approved the sale of $37.5 million in general obligations warrants to fund $23 million of capital activity including upgrades to the Mobile County Metro Jail, repairs at Government Plaza and other upgrades at various facilities to bring the county into the compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
According to the county, the remaining $14.4 million received from the sale of those warrants will be used to refinance some of the county’s existing obligations at more favorable rates, which is projected to save just under $1 million in fees and interest over time.