Brunswick County continues its strong financial tradition with recent upgrades to its general obligation bond and enterprise revenue debt ratings from Moody’s Investors Service—all of which are some of the highest a local government or utility can receive.
Brunswick County’s general obligation (GO) bonds were upgraded to Aaa from Aa1, which is the highest rating possible on Moody’s rating scale. The County’s outstanding limited obligation bonds and certificates of participation were also upgraded to the second-highest ranking of Aa1 after previously assigned as Aa2.
Moody’s also upgraded the County’s water and sewer enterprise revenue debt to Aa2 from Aa3, reflecting a trend of improving debt service coverage and the county’s growing service area.
“These upgraded ratings are one of many examples of Brunswick County’s continued excellence in financial management and planning,” Chairman Randy Thompson said. “We are pleased that Moody’s has recognized the strength and stability of our commitments with investors. Brunswick County’s financial position and future continue to be robust, stable, and secure.”
Following the current issuance, the County will have $134 million in GO debt outstanding and $17 million in limited obligation bonds outstanding with a stable outlook. Proceeds from the 2022 bonds will fund an addition to North Brunswick High School and other school building improvements.
The County’s utility system currently has $287 million senior lien revenue bonds outstanding. This debt is connected to several completed or ongoing infrastructure improvement and expansion projects, including the expansion and reverse osmosis treatment upgrades at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant,expansions at the Northeast Wastewater Treatment Plant and West Brunswick Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant, and the Shallotte 24-inch transmission water main, which provides additional capacity and redundancy for water access for the southern part of the county.
“The County takes great strides to follow our financial policies, practice conservative budgeting, and plan for multiple years in advance—all of which Moody’s recognized in their assessment for these ratings,” Director of Fiscal Operations Aaron Smith said. “I am proud of our Finance team’s efforts, and we will continue to strive to maintain or improve our processes in alignment with our strategic plan’s focus on excellent government.”
Brunswick County’s GO bonds also have an AAA rating, and its revenue bonds have an AA- rating from S&P Global Ratings, which are also among the highest ratings achievable on its scale. Ratings from organizations like Moody’s and S&P provide investors and market participants with information about the relative credit risk of issuers and individual debt issues.
Brunswick County services a growing population of over 144,000 and encompasses approximately 1,050 square miles. As of 2022, the County serves nearly 49,500 water customer connections and 23,000 wastewater (sewer) customer connections. These figures do not include the number of customers served by wholesale water customers such as municipalities that provide retail services to mostly residential customer bases. More than 300,000 people are served by Brunswick County Public Utilities during the peak season (summer), including both county and wholesale customer service areas.
More information about Brunswick County’s Finance Department is at brunswickcountync.gov/finance.