S&P: Bulloch County, GA 2016 COPs Assigned 'A+' Rating
"The rating reflects our view of the general creditworthiness of the county as lessee and the strong contractual provisions of absolute and unconditional lease payments for debt service following annual appropriation," said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Daniel Hughes.
The series 2016 COPs issued by the Association are secured by base rentals payable by Bulloch County to the Association under the lease agreement and subject to annual appropriation. Base rental payments are equal to debt service payments on the certificates. We understand county officials will use COP proceeds to refund an existing bank loan and pay for improvements to the county's water park.
Bulloch County, with an estimated population of 70,197, is approximately 50 miles northwest of Savannah in southeastern Georgia near the South Carolina border. Statesboro is the county's largest city and serves as the county seat.
"The stable outlook reflects our opinion that the county will likely continue to increase its reserves, and maintain its very strong liquidity and at least adequate budgetary performance," added Mr. Hughes. In addition, its limited future debt plans provide additional stability to the rating. Therefore, we do not expect to change the rating within the two-year outlook period.
If the county continues to raise its reserves and maintains them at levels we consider very strong, and economic indicators were to improve to levels we consider commensurate with the county's higher rated peers, we could raise the rating. Conversely, we recognize that the county's recently adopted property tax increase has enabled it to emerge from a period of structural imbalance. If financial performance were to deteriorate and the county were to return to a structural imbalance, leading to decreased reserves, we could lower the rating.