County earns higher credit rating
By the Advocate Editorial Board
June 18, 2010 at 1:18 a.m.
Updated June 20, 2010 at 1:20 a.m.
We commend Victoria County Judge Don Pozzi and our county commissioners for achieving a higher credit rating. This simply means when the county has bonds to sell, buyers will have an incentive to invest in them because they receive a better interest rate, and they are more secure than lower-rated bonds.
The news that Victoria received a higher credit rating comes after a long build toward that status from Sept. 26, 2003, when the county's rating was placed on a "negative watch" by Standard & Poor's, according to Joyce Dean, the county's director of administrative services. The move by S&P was based on a budget analysis from 2002.
"At that time, the county's credit rating was A plus. The negative watch meant that S&P was considering lowering the credit rating of the county to a lower rating," Dean said.
Working to improve the rating, county commissioners raised the tax rate to 39.86 cents per $100 of property value in 2004, where it has remained. In addition, the 2004 budget required cuts in personnel, department mergers and decreases in operational expenses.
"The conservative spending and fiscal management has continued since 2004, which has allowed the tax rate to remain. And in fact, the 2010 budget's tax rate was set below the effective tax rate," Dean said.
And on Jan. 25, 2006, the rating company removed the "negative watch" and returned the county to a stable rating of A plus. S&P stated the reason for that return was a "strong and structurally stable financial position commensurate with historical levels."
In early 2010, S&P increased the county's rating to AA indicating a trend toward a stable, strong outlook.
Again, we commend the Victoria County Commissioners Court for good fiscal management and ensuring the county remains in a strong financial position.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.