Madison County has received the highest credit rating in its history after a recent upgrade by Moody’s Investors Service, according to Commission Chair Dale Strong.
Strong described the enhanced rating as a “momentous announcement.” The Moody’s rating improved from Aa2 to Aa1. In the Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings, Madison County was given a rating of AA+ with a stable outlook.
Both credit rating agencies praised Madison County for systemic measures taken to improve and strengthen the financial control of county operations including debt reduction, upgraded accounting practices, financial management, job creation, and organizational rightsizing.
“We are encouraged by the confidence that Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have placed in Madison County’s management of our finances,” said Chairman Strong.
S&P reported that Madison County is the greater Tennessee Valley’s regional economic center as a result of its growing and robust employment market that attracts highly competitive skilled labor. “Although the county has a large federal presence numerous federal agencies and military commands manage their own respective federal budgets, which counterbalances concentration risk in the federal budget as well as future spending cuts and potential shutdowns,” stated the S&P report.
Moody’s pointed to the county’s growing tax base, saying Madison County’s healthy financial position is marked by reserve and liquidity levels and manageable debt burden. S&P further noted the country’s stable finances allow it to maintain high reserves to support possible revenue downturns due to economic cyclicality.
“Our commission and financial team have embraced change and have set conditions through new policies while making the hard decisions when it mattered most. The taxpayers of Madison County will benefit the most with lower bond rates,” Strong said after the announcement.
He added, “These are historic times in Madison County, Alabama. Since 2012, we have been very successful in letting the rest of the world know our engineering, advanced manufacturing, and propulsion capabilities have led to more than 25,000 new jobs for the greater Madison County region. While Huntsville has always been the Rocket City, if your company is in space or missile defense and you don’t have a presence in Madison County you need to rethink your business model because whether it be rockets or automotive engines, Madison County is truly the Propulsion Capital of the World.”
Madison County continues a pattern of rapid growth. The 2019 population estimate was nearly 373,000.
While Strong believes the economy in Madison County is the most robust he has ever witnessed, he added, “I continue to believe Madison County’s finest days are still ahead. Our team continues to build a solid economy and workforce not only for this generation but for many generations to come. These are unprecedented times in Madison County, Alabama,” Strong said.
Ray Garner is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News.