On Friday, Feb. 6, Standard & Poor’s Rating Services (S&P) assigned the highest credit rating possible of AAA to Goochland County.
In receiving the AAA rating in its first-ever attempt, Goochland also becomes the only small county in Virginia to be rated AAA by S&P, as no other county currently with a population under 60,000 is designated AAA.
By comparison, Goochland County’s current population is estimated at 21,400.
Goochland County Supervisor Ken Peterson, County Administrator Rebecca Dickson and Deputy County Administrator John Wack, along with Kevin Rotty of PFM, the county’s financial advisor, traveled on Jan. 12 to Wall Street to tell Goochland County’s story.
During a three-hour due diligence session with S&P, county officials highlighted Goochland’s strengths in management and leadership, the local economy, planned growth, strategic planning, and, most importantly, in financial management, including strength in the areas of budgetary performance and financial flexibility and liquidity.
Peterson, the Board of Supervisors representative from District 5, said he was “thrilled” with the outcome. “The S&P AAA credit rating serves as an affirmation and validation of the county’s financial health,” Peterson said. “Goochland will benefit from this rating in many ways, including an enhanced ability to attract and retain businesses, improved access to the capital markets on very favorable terms, and it will provide a transparent metric for citizens to track the financial health of their county.”
Dickson also was pleased with the news.
“The citizens of Goochland are fortunate to have a financially conservative Board of Supervisors that serves as exceptional stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars, not only strengthening the county’s financial policies over the last two years but strictly adhering to those policies,” Dickson said. “In addition, the board is very proactive, building up reserves to provide budget flexibility for the future and taking a cautious approach to recurring spending commitments. Goochland County has earned this outstanding rating.”
“This top rating is the culmination of over five years of steady progress in prudent financial management, “John Wack, deputy county administrator for financial services, added.
The S&P concluded its assessment with the following note: “The stable outlook reflects our view of the county’s very strong management conditions that, in our view, have contributed to its very strong financial position and consistently strong financial performance. For these reasons, we do not expect to change the rating within the two-year outlook horizon.”