Clark County retains credit rating from Moody’s

Clark County retained its credit rating this month from Moody’s Investors Service, with the firm citing the county’s “growing reserves and prudent management.”

The service rated Clark County’s credit as Aa2 stable, according to a recent credit opinion. Moody’s provides credit ratings, research and analysis for the financial industry. The rating is a sign the county is being fiscally responsible as it tries to attract new jobs and investment, said Jennifer Hutchinson, Clark County administrator.

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“We’re pleased with the results of the report,” Hutchinson said. “While it shows we have some challenges in the future, we’re doing all we can to stay financially responsible to help Clark County grow in the coming years.”

The opinion notes Clark County received the rating despite “weak labor market trends and gradual population declines over the past decade.” The rating was unchanged from 2017.

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The News-Sun reported earlier this year Clark County's population declined by 64 residents last year. But local officials said that figure is a signal the poulation has stabilized after the number of residents dropped by more than 1,000 people between 2015 and 2016 alone.

About $10 million in upcoming bonds will be used to finance renovations at the county administrative office building as well as construction of a new 911 dispatch center, along with various other capital improvements, according to a news release from the county. Following the sale of the bonds, the county will have about $25.4 million in outstanding debt, Moody’s said.

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The latest report shows Clark County’s revenues are expected to decline next year due to the expiration of some permissible sales tax charges. But it also noted the county’s overall financial health is expected to remain solid, pointing out Clark County’s general fund regularly posted operating surpluses through fiscal year 2017.

“Clark County’s management is considered strong, as evidenced by its ability to consistently maintain balanced operations and grow reserves,” the latest report says. “Such close fiscal oversight is a key factor in the county’s financial strength given its limited revenue raising flexibility and looming loss of Medicaid MCO sales tax collections.”

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