MORRIS COUNTY — Taxpayers will save an estimated $2.8 million under a refinancing plan announce by the Morris County Board of Freeholders this week that involves multiple bonds issued through the Morris County Improvement Authority.
The $2.8 million savings will be realized over the life of various bonds issued within the past ten years for multiple county and local projects. The refinancing is a prudent step undertaken to secure lower financing rates – similar to taxpayers refinancing a home mortgage.
Morris County freeholders and administrators have worked to maintain fiscal responsibility and continue the county’s coveted “AAA” credit rating, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The “AAA” rating is the highest possible credit rating assigned by financial rating agencies, and it enables the county and its 39 municipalities to secure the most cost-effective financing when bonding becomes necessary for capital improvements.
“This freeholder board has not only maintained the county’s triple AAA rating, but we have also strengthened it even in the current pandemic,” said Freeholder John Krickus. “As Standard & Poors commented in its Morris County rating report: ‘We view positively that the county started a (COVID-19) task force looking at longer-term economic and financial impact of the pandemic on the county’s finances.’ “
Freeholder Krickus was referencing a task force formed as part of an aggressive response undertaken by Morris County in early spring to keep the community safe from the virus and deal with emerging issues as the pandemic continues.
“Morris County has maintained a triple AAA rating, reduced debt, streamlined operations, frozen taxes, and balanced the budget without borrowing,” said Freeholder Krickus. “In contrast, the State of New Jersey has one of the lowest credit ratings in the country, continues to increase spending, increased numerous taxes and fees, and utilized $4 Billion in debt to balance an operating budget.”
Since the freeholders established the Morris County Improvement Authority in 2002, the agency has provided towns, school districts, and the county itself with innovative and cost-effective methods of funding public projects while saving tax dollars. Through the authority, towns have been able to borrow under the umbrella of Morris County’s “AAA” bond rating to finance local projects, such as purchasing equipment and vehicles or constructing local facilities, at lower costs thereby reducing the property tax burden on their residents.