Oakland County meets with bond rating analysts

Oakland County is optimistic it will retain its AAA bond rating, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced Tuesday following the annual bond rating meetings with Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s. The county has held a AAA bond rating since 1998.

“Our presentation to the bond rating analysts went well,” Patterson said. “We demonstrated why Oakland County is the best-managed county in the United States.”

Members of county administration highlighted the fiscal and economic strengths of the county. They included:

• A multi-year budget balanced through 2020.

• Significant savings from the county’s shift from a defined benefit (pension) retirement system to a defined contribution (401(k)-style) retirement system.

• A healthy fund balance that far exceeds the guidelines of the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.

• Property value improvements combined with a county operating millage reduction.

• Job growth and diversification especially in the knowledge-based economy due to county initiatives such as Emerging Sectors, Medical Main Street, and Tech 248.

“Our approach to budgeting is ‘thoughtful management versus crisis management.’ The savings speak for themselves,” Patterson said.

County Treasurer Andy Meisner added, “The county’s fiscal policies which have been in place for many years have been working and the results have been very positive. It is a testament to the county’s long-term outlook.”

Joining Patterson in the annual bond rating meetings were Meisner; Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash; County Commissioner Tom Middleton, chairperson of the Board of Commissioners Finance Committee; Chief Deputy County Executive Gerald Poisson; Deputy County Executives Robert Daddow, Phil Bertolini, and Malcolm Brown; Management & Budget Director Laurie VanPelt; Economic Development & Community Affairs Director Irene Spanos; Fiscal Services Division Manager Lynn Sonkiss; Equalization Division Manager Dave Hieber; and bond counsel John Axe of Axe & Ecklund PC.

The meetings were held at Oakland County’s Executive Office Building in the Dennis R. Toffolo Conference Room.