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Media Release

Town of Hilton Head Island Bond Ratings Affirmed

Release Date: August 31, 2017

Contact Information:
Stephen G. Riley, C.M. , Town Manager, 843-341-4700


All three national bond rating firms recently affirmed the Town's bond ratings. The Town’s General Obligation (GO) bond ratings are:

Moody’s Aaa/Stable Outlook
Standard & Poor's AA+/Stable Outlook
Fitch Ratings AA+/Stable Outlook

These ratings were performed to coincide with the Town's GO bond issues. GO Bonds, Series 2017A -- $27.7 million bonds will be used to fund the Capital Plan, and Series 2017B -- $18 million bonds will be used to restore disaster reserves.

In the ratings releases, the rating firms made the following statements:     

Moody’s cited as factors in its rating the Town’s strong financial position, supported by comprehensive fiscal policies, ample financial reserves, history of operating stability and a low direct debt burden. The rating also considers the Town’s importance as an established tourism destination and the large tax base.

According to Standard & Poor's, its rating is based on the Town's well-established status as a popular tourist destination, local economy with low unemployment; an affluent year-round population; a large and diverse tax base; the strong management; strong budgetary performance; and very strong reserve levels.

Fitch included in its report "the town's economy has historically demonstrated resilience during periods of economic stress" and "the Town maintains significant reserve..."

"This is very good news" stated Steve Riley, Town Manager. "We are very pleased with the affirmations from the bond rating firms. This is the first time the rating agencies have examined the Town's operations and finances since Hurricane Matthew, and the Town's response to the hurricane. It has been a difficult year operationally and financially with Hurricane Matthew. The Town Council made a strong response to help restore the Island and to restore its reserves. This is an affirmation of the steps Council has taken, and we are pleased the rating agencies looked favorably on the Town's response." Riley also attributed these strong bond ratings to the Town’s ongoing commitment to diversified revenues, strong financial practices and budgetary policies.

The Town also had its $28.7 million Beach bonds rated and the ratings were affirmed also.

Moody's Aa3/Stable
Standard & Poor's A/Stable

The Beach bonds are backed specifically by the Town's Beach Preservation Fees to fund the beach renourishment projects of 2016 and 2017.

The bonds are scheduled to be sold in September.