It wasn’t that long ago when I was on a call with a group in New York, talking about all that Bluffton is doing and the many accomplishments that have taken place.
Why were we talking to a firm in New York? It was to let them know that our town was fiscally responsible and that we wanted to get a bond rating from Moody’s and Standard and Poor.
Overall, it was a great conversation and it set the table for our rating of a AA+. That was more than 10 years ago, and this past month, we accomplished the same task.
On Jan. 23, Moody’s Investor Service assigned an Aa1 rating to the Town of Bluffton. Moody’s noted the town’s consistently strong financial position, growing tax base, prudent fiscal management and moderate fixed costs as driving factors for the town’s strong rating.
They also noted the following factors that could lead to an upgrade:
• Strengthening of the tax base and socioeconomic profile
• Sustained trend of balanced operations and maintenance of healthy reserves
• Diversification of revenue away from economically volatile business license taxes
With this rating, the town held a competitive bond refunding sale on Jan. 30. The town received bids from six financial institutions. The winning bidder was FHN Financial Capital Markets with a true interest cost (TIC) of 1.56%. The net present value (NPV) savings is $692,314.
Our annual debt service payment will be reduced by approximately $60,000 annually.
In other news, the FY19 (Popular Annual Financial Report) PAFR has been published to the town website and has been submitted to the Government Finance Officers Association in consideration for their PAFR awards program, which recognizes governments for publishing PAFR’s that are designed to be readily accessible and easily understandable to the general public and other interested parties without a background in public finance.
One of the first questions of new residents is how our town stands financially. It is with great pride that we can brag to all residents on the financial health of our town. And we are very transparent on all we do for our town, especially in the financial realm.
I hope you will visit our website at townofbluffton.sc.gov and visit our financial page and others to see all the great things we are doing for our citizens.
As always, if you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.
Lisa Sulka is the mayor of the Town of Bluffton. firstname.lastname@example.org