Fitch increases county’s issuer default rating to “AA”

October 5, 2021

Nassau County, Florida, October 5, 2021 – Nassau County recently received notification from Fitch Ratings, Inc. (Fitch), that its rating has been increased for the first time since 2016 to an AA, up from its prior AA- rating.  Fitch provides an independent assessment of the creditworthiness of the county, akin to a consumer FICO or credit score.

The improved rating shows that despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, the county has remained fiscally strong, disciplined and resilient based on the county’s solid financial management policies, conservative budgeting practices and swift measures taken to mitigate revenue losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In announcing its decision, Fitch analysts cited several key reasons for the increase, including:

  • The county is well positioned to maintain a high level of fundamental financial flexibility through economic cycles.
  • Expenditure flexibility is solid, underpinned by the county’s manageable debt and solid control over employee headcount
  • The county prudently built-up reserves during the latter half of the last decade, which affords it greater flexibility to address both future downturns and potential growth-related pressures

Board of County Commissioner’s Chairman, Thomas Ford, stated, “County Officials and staff have worked very hard to pay down debt, increase emergency reserves, all while maintaining strong fiscal controls. The County is being recognized for its hard work and we will continue efforts to ensure that we continue to be strong fiscal stewards of the county’s tax dollars”.

As the County’s Clerk of Courts and Comptroller, Mr. John A. Crawford is governed by statutory authority as the County’s auditor, recorder, and custodian of all funds. The Clerk works directly with the Board to ensure the County has adequate financial controls and actively manages the investment of County funds.

Following Fitch’s credit rating increase, Mr. Crawford stated, “I couldn’t be more proud of our County! The Board’s discipline to avoid unnecessary debt while increasing its level of planning has strengthened the County’s financial position.  Efforts to establish adequate reserves, a capital improvement plan that meets the citizens’ needs, and maintaining a manageable debt burden are paying off!  If a day arrives where budget flexibility and creativity are not enough to provide for an extensive capital project, rest assured, the efforts to improve our credit rating will greatly benefit the taxpayers of Nassau County.”

If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Management & Budget at (904) 530-6010.

-Sabrina Robertson

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