Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned an A+ long-term rating to the Clay County Building Corporation series 2012 first-mortgage refunding bonds, supported by Clay County.
According to the Ratings Services, the rating reflects the assessment of Clay County's:
* Fairly diverse economic base, which includes access to employment opportunities within the city of Terre Haute,
* Adequate income indicators,
* Adequate financial operations, supported by strong general fund reserves, albeit on a cash basis of accounting, and
* Low to moderate overall debt burden with no additional debt plans.
"Basically, the bonding company, which is getting ready to sell the bonds, has to do a type of background check on the county. For people buying the bonds, they see that we pay our bills," Clay County Council President Mike McCullough said. "Anytime we want to borrow money, that A+ rating allows us to get better rates. It is helping us get better rates on our jail refinancing now."
Clay County is one of a few counties in Indiana that have such a good rating.
"This is something we should all be proud of," McCullough said. "All the council members and all the officers in the courthouse should be thanked. They have been very conservative."
McCullough said Clay County is doing very well financially.
"We've gone through some tough years economically, but I feel like we're doing pretty well," he said. "We've been able to keep our heads above water."
According to McCullough, Clay County has an estimated $300,000-$500,000 in the General Operating Fund, $1.3 million in the Rainy Day Fund and no debt other than paying off the Justice Center.
"I feel pretty good about where we're at," he said. "It just gets tougher and tougher to maintain the services people expect, because our incomes are not what they used to be. Considering the times we've gone through here over the past few years, we're doing really well."