S&P: Lincoln County, KS Bond Rating Raised To 'AA-' On Increased Assessed Value, Higher Reserves
"The rating change reflects the significant increase in the county's total assessed value due to the new pipeline infrastructure, as well as increasing reserves as a result of payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) the county receives from the three wind farms," said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Daniel Hughes.
The series 2016 bonds are secured by a pledge of annual rental payments made by Lincoln County to the Lincoln County Public Building Commission.
Officials intend to use bond proceeds to refund the county's series 2008 lease-revenue bonds. We understand that the new amortization includes no extension of maturities and that the county will take savings evenly over the life of the bonds.
The county has an estimated population of 3,110. It is in central Kansas approximately 140 miles west of Topeka.
"The stable outlook reflects our opinion that Lincoln County will likely maintain its very strong liquidity and budgetary flexibility," added Mr. Hughes. In addition, we believe that the debt profile will likely remain manageable due to the county's limited capital needs. Therefore, we do not expect to change the rating within the two-year outlook period.
With all other rating factors remaining stable, if the county's economic indicators were to increase to levels we consider commensurate with higher rated peers, we could raise the rating. Conversely, if the county's economic indicators were to decline to levels commensurate with lower rated peers, or if it were to draw down available reserves below 75% of expenditures, we could lower the rating