Oxford now has an AA+ rating
By Don Rush
At the end of last year, the credit rating agency Standard & Poors Global (S&P Global) delivered good news to Oxford Township – they upped the township’s credit rating from “AA” to “AA+.”
“AAA” is the highest credit rating assigned by S&P Global. The township’s new rating shows Oxford has very strong capacity to meet its financial commitments.
“The staff in both the treasurer’s and clerk’s offices are conscientious, hard-working and committed. The upgrade in our Standard and Poor’s bond rating is a testament to our focus and dedication to making sure that we continue serving our residents to the best of our abilities,” Township Treasurer Joe Ferrari said. “This is great for Oxford Township because if we need to borrow funds on the open bond market, we would obtain very good interest rates. An outside agency has studied our yearly financials and has determined that we are an extremely low financial bond risk.”
According to Ferrari, the ratings are done because the township currently has bond holders for their water bonds and Chase Bank for the Parks and Recreation bonds.
“They want to ensure that we are still financially sound,” said.
The township’s approved 2023 General Fund budget is $4,008,918. The township’s fund equity balance, as of 2021, was $3,443,804. According to the S & P report to the township, “The upgrade reflects our view of the township’s growth of reserves to 81% of general fund expenditures, securing its
financial stability and flexibility in the long term, along with continued local economic growth.”
The report also stated, “We expect that the township will continue its trend of achieving positive operating results, as it did in prior years, due to strong revenue growth and conservative management. The township reports two of its main operational funds (police and fire, emergency medical services) separate from its general fund. In fiscal 2021, all three funds closed with a surplus, improving combined reserves even further to 81% of combined revenues. Management attributes positive
operations to continued taxable value growth, further stabilizing its primary revenue source. Property taxes are the city’s largest revenue source, at 68% of general fund revenue.”
The report also commented on the township’s debt. “The township’s debt totals $8.46 million, with no additional capital needs. Approximately $4.6 million of the township’s debt is self-supporting by the water fund. In our view, Oxford Charter Township’s debt and contingent liability profile is very strong, with annual debt service at 1.6% of expenditures, and with 90% of the direct debt scheduled to be
repaid within 10 years, which are, in our view, positive credit factors.”
“Oxford Township continues to be on exceptionally sound financial footing due to the solid management by the Oxford Township Board of Trustees and in particular, the three full-time elected officials—the supervisor, clerk and treasurer,” Ferrari said.