Huntersville financially strong; downgrade not likely
by Staff Writer
HUNTERSVILLE – Preaching the town’s financial acumen from the dais this week, Huntersville Mayor Jill Swain said residents should not be worried about a potential ratings downgrade following the unprecedented decline in the nation’s AAA bond rating.
Earlier this month, ratings agent Standard & Poor’s knocked the country to an AA+ rating. The agency justified the downgrade on the inability of policymakers and political institutions to agree on a concise plan for addressing the nation’s mounting debt.
Essentially, the ratings determine a group’s credit worthiness with AAA being the highest one can get.
“It is important for citizens to know that the town of Huntersville was not impacted by this,” Swain told the crowd at the Monday, Aug. 15, board meeting. “I have been assured by the Town of Huntersville’s management team that we are optimistic that we will maintain our AAA rating … ”
In late July, town leaders learned that national financial rating agencies were considering reducing the ratings of 162 towns and cities and 31 states.
Huntersville was not on that list, and in August 2010, S&P and Moody’s rated the town AAA for a number of reasons, including:
• Access to, and participation in, the greater Charlotte metropolitan area.
• A diverse and growing property tax base.
• Strong wealth and income levels.
• Solid financial performance, supporting very strong reserves.
• Low debt burden.
Swain said those strengths have not changed. “In fact, in the past three weeks, we have not only hosted one international corporate prospect, but on Friday (Aug. 12) we received notice that we have a second international prospect visit forthcoming.”
Officials would not identify those prospects.
“So essentially what you’re saying is the Union of Huntersville is strong?” Huntersville Commissioner Ron Julian said, playing Swain’s straight man.
“That’s exactly what I’m saying,” Swain responded.
Cornelius also enjoys a AAA rating from the national agencies and doesn’t expect that to change, Town Manager Anthony Roberts said.
“We’re in the best financial shape we’ve even been,” Roberts added.