For the first time in its history, Rutherford County Government achieved AAA status by Moody’s Investors Service, joining only a small handful of other local governments in Tennessee that currently hold this rating.
County Mayor Bill Ketron received noticed Monday of the credit opinion update and was immediately elated at the news, “This is a BIG deal for our county,” said Ketron. “We are incredibly proud to boast this honor, not for bragging rights, but to achieve this rating signifies the due diligence of our budget and finance team members and leadership in the county of managing credit responsibly.”
What exactly does this rating mean? According to Finance Director Lisa Nolen, AAA-rated bonds have a high degree of creditworthiness because their issuers (in this case, Rutherford County) are easily able to meet financial commitments and have the lowest risk of default. “This is meaningful to the taxpayer because as a low risk, the county should receive the best interest rate when selling competitively,” said Nolen.
County Commissioner and Budget and Finance Committee Chair Robert Peay, Jr. commented, “I am really pleased for our county. This achievement is indicative of good stewardship of our county dollars and budget.”
Ketron, Peay, and Nolen acknowledged past commissioners who worked hard over the years toward this goal, as well as Mayors Ernest Burgess and Nancy Allen, Budget Chair predecessors Joyce Ealy, Bob Bullen, and Will Jordan, and former Finance Directors Randall Matlock and E. Paul Long for paving the way for this milestone.
“I also thank Sam Crewse and the late Tom McAnulty for guiding the county for decades through our debt issuances,” said Nolen.
Rutherford County Schools Director Bill Spurlock, whose district is often the recipient and steward of the bonds, said this of the news, “We’ve always strived to use taxpayer funds efficiently and to invest in our students and our schools using proven, cost-effective strategies. We also work diligently as partners with the County Commission to pass operating and capital budgets that help us achieve our goals but without straining our county’s financial resources.”
“This is just another way Rutherford County is working to set the ‘Gold Standard’ for the state for other counties to follow,” said Ketron.