Morris County Earns AAA Financial Ratings for 49th Consecutive Year

Published on May 30, 2024

Moody's and S&P’s Uphold Premium Assessments

Moody's S&P Logos Merge.jpg Morris County’s financial stability again has been given the highest confidence ranking by Moody’s Investor Services and Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings, both of which issued their AAA ratings of the county finances for the 49th consecutive year.

“The AAA issuer rating reflects the county's strong and diverse economy, very high wealth and resident income, healthy reserve levels, and exceptionally strong, proactive financial management,” Moody’s concluded in an analysis released May 23.

“Morris County has maintained a triple-A rating for almost half a century. This is the highest rating assigned and saves everyone money by allowing our towns, schools and county to borrow funds for integral community projects at competitive rates. It is very much like a personal credit score, and all county taxpayers reap the rewards,” said Deborah Smith, chair, Morris County Board of County Commissioners Budget Committee. “When the county needs to borrow funding for important infrastructure projects for our community, taxpayers are spared hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest fees, which translates to tax savings for everyone.”

S&P’s May 24 summary also confirmed a positive outlook.

“The county has consistently maintained positive finances during the past three fiscal years because of management’s conservative budgeting,” concluded S&P’s summary.

S&P: Morris County’s ranking higher than federal government.

“Morris County is eligible for a rating higher than the sovereign because we think the county can maintain strong credit characteristics relative to the nation in a stress scenario. … The county has predominantly locally derived revenue with independent taxing authority and treasury management from the federal government,” S&P reported.

The AAA ratings benefit everyone in Morris County

The annual ratings assignment for 2024 involved a review of approximately $37.1 million in General Obligation Bonds being issued by the county, consisting of $30.2 million in general improvement, $2.7 million in parks and $4.2 million in bonds for the County College of Morris.

Moody’s Findings on Morris County’s Credit Strength

  • Strong and stable finances
  • Large, diverse and wealthy economy with stable employer presence
  • Exceptionally strong, proactive financial management

Summary of S&P’s Findings on Morris County

  • Very strong local economy
  • Historically stable budgetary performance that has resulted in continued reserve improvement due to conservative budgeting, supported by a strong revenue base
  • Very strong management with strong financial-management practices, policies Highlights include:
  • long-term formal financial and capital-improvement plans
  • formal investment and debt-management policies
  • reserve policy that limits unreserved fund balance to no less than 12% of expenditures

The Moody’s and S&P outlook for the coming term is also stable, reflecting the expectation that the county will maintain a strong financial position and continue to benefit from its growing economy.

Commissioners Cabana, Smith and Krickus


Photo: (l-r) The Morris County Budget Committee: Commissioner Douglas R. Cabana, Commissioner Deborah Smith (committee chair) and Commissioner John Krickus.


Tagged as: