When America’s “Big 3” ratings agencies reaffirmed Chesterfield’s Triple-AAA bond rating for the 27th consecutive year in May, Standard & Poor’s (S&P), Moody’s and Fitch Ratings concluded the county is on sound footing for the future because of its robust fiscal management, strong financial position and conservative budgeting.
We now know the dollar figure associated with being among the 1% of localities nationwide to maintain the highest possible bond rating: $20 million.
That’s how much Chesterfield expects to save in debt service over the next two decades as it repays bonds issued for a series of county and school capital projects approved by voters last November.
The bond referendum will provide $375 million for the school division and $165 million for the county over the next five to seven years.
You can see the full list of projects here.
Chesterfield sold the first $116 million in bonds last month at a 3.3% interest rate, saving $4.1 million by accessing a rate significantly lower than those available to non-Triple-AAA municipalities.
After issuing the full $540 million authorized by voters, Chesterfield projects to save about $20 million over the 20-year repayment period.
A locality’s bond rating is similar to your individual credit score – the higher the rating, the lower the cost to borrow money.
The savings, in turn, can then be allocated to other operating or capital priorities to support a vibrant, growing community.