Butler County becomes only 4th in state with top financial rating

Butler County has been upgraded to the prestigious Aaa rating following years of holding operating costs low and paying off general fund debt.

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Butler County has been upgraded to the prestigious Aaa rating following years of holding operating costs low and paying off general fund debt.

Butler County has been upgraded to the prestigious Aaa rating following years of holding operating costs low and paying off general fund debt.

Moody’s Investors Service, which provides financial research on bonds issued by commercial and government organizations, upgraded Butler County general obligation limited tax ratings Tuesday to Aaa, the highest quality rating assigned by Moody’s.

The rare and coveted rating often leads to more favorable borrowing conditions.

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Butler County was previously upgraded to Aa1 from Aa2 in July 2016.

The rating upgrade reflects a considerable improvement in the county’s financial position, something that county officials say is a result of prudent financial management and growing revenues.

“Our economic development efforts focus on strong companies that pay a good wage to support our families,” said David Fehr, Butler County’s director of development.

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After implementation of new financial policies, expense controls, and an aggressive debt retirement plan, the county’s financial operations and balance sheet dramatically improved.

“Not only is there a high level of confidence in Butler County’s credit worthiness, but Moody’s acknowledged that we operate with the state’s lowest sales tax rate,” said Butler County Administrator Charles Young. “We have strong fiscal management that allows us to pay our debts, and we do it at lower cost to taxpayers than most of our peers.”

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Commissioner T.C. Rogers said the rating is a gold standard and “a tremendous accomplishment for any county.”

“This is a result of the hard work and cooperation of all our officeholders and employees,” Rogers said. “Butler County will use this recognition as a catalyst for even greater things in the future.”

Butler County Finance Director Tawana Lynn Keels said it’s “an incredible achievement” to increase the county bond rating from Aa2 with a positive outlook in 2015, to Aa1 in 2016 and Aaa just two years later.

“Through sound fiscal management and conservative operating principles, we achieved a tremendous feat,” Keels said. “The County is positioned to support economic development and improve the aging infrastructure.”

Only three counties in the state of Ohio have earned the Aaa rating, Keels said. Butler County is the fourth.

“The upgrade of our bond rating to Aaa is validation of the common sense disciplines that we have practiced,” said Commission President Cindy Carpenter. “As a result, the county is financially healthy and economically thriving, and that doesn’t happen by accident.”

Commissioner Don Dixon said the rating is due to “continued discipline and hard work.”

“I think this shows the public our commitment to hold the line on spending and operate the County efficiently,” Dixon said.

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