Maui County Receives AA+ Ratings for 2022 Bonds to Fund Capital Improvement Projects

Maui County received a stable outlook for 2022 from the three major bond rating services: Fitch Global Ratings, Moody’s Investor Services and S&P Global Ratings.

Fitch Global Ratings, Moody’s Investor Service and S&P Global Ratings have each assigned “stable outlook” ratings to Maui County General Bond Bonds, Series 2022.

Maui County plans to issue about $60.56 million of the bonds to fund capital improvement projects, according to a county news release.

They include a variety of public works projects, water and wastewater projects, park improvements, upgrades to public safety facilities and infrastructure needed to support customer service by departments of the county, according to a county projects spreadsheet (as of July 31, 2022).

Fitch Global Ratings and S&P each rated Maui County AA+. S&P said its county rating reflected strong confidence in “well-integrated financial management policies and practices…supporting very good credit quality.”

Moody’s Aa1 rating was credited to the county’s “stable profile anchored by conservative budget assumptions that will maintain sufficient reserves and liquidity levels for the rating level”.

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Fitch Global Ratings said in its county assessment that security for these bonds is payable from an unlimited property tax levied on all taxable property within the county’s jurisdiction.

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According to Fitch Global Ratings: “The growth of the tax base [of Maui County] is strong. The assessed taxable value (TAV) in fiscal year 2021 was $54.8 billion, which had increased by 69% since the last reduction in VAT in fiscal year 2013. However, for the fiscal 2022, TAV fell more than 1% to $54.1 billion due to lower hotel and resort valuations. , partially offset by the increase in short-term rental values. Nevertheless, ongoing construction and the opening of new developments support expectations of strong TAV growth in the short to medium term. TAV for fiscal year 2023 is $58.7 billion, nearly 8% year-on-year [year over year] increase.”

Scott Teruya, Maui County Chief Financial Officer, said Moody’s “recognizes the overall strength of Maui’s creditworthiness. I believe that if we continue to overfund our other post-employment benefits and increase our emergency fund reserves, there is real potential for a future upgrade to the highest AAA rating.

Mayor Michael Victorino said the grades “demonstrate the strength of our post-pandemic recovery and successful efforts to diversify our economy going forward. They also testify to the remarkable work of our employees in the Finance Department, the Budget Office and the Management Department. It takes great leadership to emerge from the worst public health and economic crisis of our lifetime. »

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In its credit outlook, S&P acknowledged the rebound in Maui County’s hospitality sector, but also pointed to the diversification of the county’s economic base. He identified job growth in agricultural, film, television and video projects as essential complements to the leisure and hospitality sector.

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