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Johnson County maintains AAA bond rating from all three rating agencies

Johnson County’s strong financial standing remains unchanged with all three bond rating agencies affirming AAA bond rating in the sale of two series of refunding bonds, totaling approximately $20 million, the issuance of $34.4 million in internal improvement bonds for capital projects, and the issuance of $16.3 million in public building commission lease purchase revenues bonds for library projects.

“These highest ratings from the three major bond rating agencies recognize Johnson County’s fiscal strength,” County Manager Hannes Zacharias said. “Retaining our Triple AAA ratings allows us to continue saving taxpayer dollars. It’s a win-win situation for county government and for our community.”

The triple AAA rating is the highest rating that can be received by any government entity and fewer than one percent of all counties receive it.

The bonds were authorized in four separate transactions by unanimous votes this week by the Johnson County Board of Commissioners and in the board’s role as the public building commission.

The refunding bonds were issued to refinance older cost debt at higher interest, mostly authorized in 2009, with lower interest rates. Current projections call for about approximately $2.1 million in net present value savings from the refinancing transactions.

All three bond rating agencies — Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch Ratings — rated the Johnson County bonds at AAA, citing the county’s strong financial operations supported by conservative management, established fiscal policies and manageable debt burden.

The bond ratings help determine the ease with which the county can borrow money and the interest rates it pays. The better the rating, the better terms it gets on its money.

The sales included:

  • $16,365,000 in Lease Purchase Revenue Refunding Bonds for construction of Monticello Library in Shawnee and refinancing bonds issued in 2008 for improvements to Leawood Pioneer Library;
  • $9,175,000 in in Lease Purchase Revenue Refunding Bonds to refinance other bonds issued in 2009;
  • $10,570,000 in General Obligation Refunding Bonds to refinance outstanding bonds, also issued in 2009; and,
  • $34,445,000 in General Obligation Internal Improvement Bonds for nine wastewater improvement projects, two road projects and expansion of the countywide radio system.

Interest rates in the sales of the Johnson County bonds ranged from 1.7 to 2.2 percent.