PONTIAC — Moody’s Investors Service reaffirmed Oakland County’s AAA bond rating, citing the county’s “strong management practices, a growing economy, and anticipated maintenance of healthy reserves.”
The AAA rating refers to the county’s long-term general obligation limited tax debt.
“Moody’s sets the bar very high,” says County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. “The fact that they say ‘the county’s financial position will remain strong because of ‘very solid fiscal management practices’ validates all that we have done to manage our taxpayers’ money prudently.”
Oakland County operates on a balanced three-year line item budget with a five year outlook. Patterson created the county’s Budget Task Force to ensure that the county lives within its budget. The task force consists of Patterson’s five deputy executives, director of management and budget and director of human resources who meet weekly.
In addition, the county has shifted from a pension system to a 401(k)-style retirement. In January of 2006, the county also closed its traditional retiree healthcare plan and now offers new employees a health savings account upon retirement. Both the county’s pension and traditional retiree health care systems are fully funded. The county’s sound fiscal practices have saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.