Benton County Bond Rating

County Administrator David Sparks is pleased to announce that Standard & Poor’s affirmed its ‘AA+’ underlying rating (SPUR) on Benton County, Washington’s general obligation (GO) bonds with a stable outlook. According to the report released by Standard & Poor’s, the AA+ bond rating reflects Benton County’s:

  • Strong economy;
  • Strong management;
  • Very strong budgetary flexibility;
  • Very strong liquidity;
  • Strong budgetary performance; and
  • Very strong debt and contingent liabilities. 

Standard & Poor’s stated: 

“The county’s finances have been strong for at least a decade,” which shows Benton County’s ability to manage the public’s funds in a fiscally responsible way. A strong bond rating is beneficial to Benton County taxpayers because it reduces the overall borrowing costs associated with standard bond issuance to Benton County and Benton County’s junior taxing districts, such as school districts, fire districts, irrigation districts, and etc.

The chart below shows Benton County’s bond rating history for the past ten years.

Year Moody S & P
2008 A1 A+
2009 A1 A+
2010 Aa2 AA
2011 Aa2 AA
2012 Aa2 AA
2013 Aa2 AA
2014  Aa2 AA+
2015  Aa2 AA+
2016 Aa2 AA+
2017 Aa2 AA+
2018 Aa2 AA+

For more information about this rating or Benton County’s budget, please contact the Commissioners' Office at 509-786-5600.

What is a Bond Rating?
A rating is  an organization's "grade" that indicates the credit quality of a bond based on the evaluation of an issuer’s financial strength.

What do Different Rates Mean?
There are multiple different evaluation tools used to provide a bond rating. Below are two examples.

Standard and Poor’s
Ratings are divided into several categories ranging from AAA, strongest credit quality, to D, lowest credit quality. The ratings from AA to CCC may be modified by the addition of a plus (+) or minus (-) sign to show relative standing within the rating categories.

Ratings are divided into several categories ranging from Aaa, strongest credit quality, to C, lowest credit quality. The ratings from Aa through Caa may include a numerical modifier of 1, 2, or 3 to show relative standing within the rating categories. The numerical modifier 1 indicates the higher end and 3 indicates the lower end.

Bond Rating  Grade Risk
 Moody S & P
Aaa AAA Investment Highest Quality
Aa AA Investment High Quality
A A Investment Strong
Junk Medium Grade
Junk Highly Speculative
C D Junk In Default

    Benton County    620 Market Street    Prosser, Washington 99350
    Phone: (509) 786-5710 or (509) 783-1310
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