Oakland County garners highest credit rating on 2017 GOLT notes

Oakland County has retained the highest credit rating on its $25 million General Obligation Limited Tax (GOLT) Notes, Series 2017, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and Treasurer Andy Meisner announced Monday. Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Global Ratings assigned its SP-1+ short-term rating while Moody’s assigned its MIG 1 rating to the GOLT notes. Both ratings services cited the county’s AAA bond rating and strong economy as among the reasons for the highest credit ratings.

“We consider the county’s economy very strong,” S&P said. “It has a projected per capita effective buying income of 134% of the national level and per capita market value of $110,419.”

Moody’s agreed.

“Oakland County’s Aaa GOLT rating incorporates its large and fairly affluent tax base, very healthy financial position, moderate debt and pension burdens, and low fixed costs. The county’s economic trajectory remains strong, illustrated by steady expansion of the labor market and tax base growth,” Moody’s said.

Oakland County’s diversification into the knowledge-based economy and support of small businesses has helped create strong economic growth.

“University of Michigan economists said in their 2017-2019 economic forecast that Oakland County is recovering from the Great Recession at a quicker pace than Michigan and the United States,” Patterson said.

“That is because of our pursuit of 21st Century jobs through economic diversification initiatives such as Emerging Sectors, Medical Main Street, and Tech 248. Oakland County’s downtown businesses are thriving with the help of Main Street Oakland County as well.”

Meisner said the credit ratings highlight Oakland County’s sterling national reputation.

“These highest credit ratings are a welcome affirmation of our prudent stewardship on behalf of taxpayers,” said Meisner. “I celebrate this news and look forward to continuing the work with my colleagues to maintain and enhance Oakland County’s exceptional reputation as an ideal place to live, work, play, raise our families, and grow our businesses.”

Each year, all delinquent taxes payable to Oakland County and to all the underlying taxing units in it are turned over to the county. It issues annual GOLT notes to help fund the delinquent tax program. It uses the note proceeds and cash on hand to distribute amounts equal to the delinquent taxes to the local taxing units, effectively making them whole. In return, the county receives and keeps the delinquent taxes as they are collected.