Camden County is on the move after being named as the 7th most financially stable county across the State of Missouri.
That’s according to Second-District Commissioner Don Williams who, recently, released a synopsis of the county’s financial health compiled by S&P Global, Moodys and the national bonding corporation D.A. Davidson.
The numbers show that the county’s credit rating was raised in 2018 from double-A-minus to double-A.
The rating was based on the county’s annual audit and positive response to implementing all recommendations, the purchase and installation of a $450-thousand accounting software system and the build-up of county reserve funds.
By comparison, Taney County…Branson…is ranked 17th across the state. Plans, according to Williams, are to raise the county’s credit rating even further, to double-A-plus, which would rank the county as the 5th strongest financially across the state.
“As Camden County Second District Commissioner, I am pleased to release this financial information regarding the county’s current credit standing as well as its financial performance from 2016 to 2021. The accompanying documents were compiled by S&P Global, Moodys and the national bonding corporation D.A. Davidson. The information was gathered as part of an effort involved in issuing Certificates of Participation (referred to as “bonds” generically) to finance repairs and upgrades to county buildings as well as an effort to increase the county credit rating.
In 2018, Camden Countys’ credit rating was raised from AA- to AA. Last week, during a 90 minute conference call with S&P Global, we discussed the final steps the county will need to undertake in order to have the countys’ credit rating raised again, this time to AA+. In short, the county only needs to institute a long-term, annually-updated capital maintenance and improvement plan and continue to increase county reserves.
Camden County currently ranks in 7th place state-wide in terms of financial strength. By comparison, Taney County (Branson) is in 17th place. An improved credit rating of AA+ would move Camden County from 7th to 5th place state-wide. Even though our county is relatively small and rural, with a population of only about 45,000, it already ranks in the top 10 percent of Missouri counties, alongside huge metropolitan counties with populations in the hundreds of thousands, each with multiple revenue streams and massive budgets many times larger than ours.
Several factors were pointed to as the basis for this strength: The state audit requested by the County Commission in 2017, the countys’ positive response to that audit in implementing all recommendations; the complete rewriting of County Accounting Policies and Procedures; the purchase and installation of a $450,000 accounting software system; the streamlining and cost-saving measures that are currently saving the county approximately $600,000 annually; and the buildup of county reserve funds from several weeks’ operating expenses in 2015 to three months’ operating expenses in 2021.
Several measures of Camden Countys’ success from 2016 to 2021 are: an 8% growth in assessed value; a 36% growth in sales tax revenue; and an 83% growth in the countys’ General Fund Balance. During that same time period Camden County has instituted, among other items, the Drug Court, the Veterans Treatment Court, the Contracted Trucking Program, added another Detective position to the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Office and given approximately $4.50 per hour in raises to county employees. Despite these additional costs, the General Fund Balance grew by 83%, largely as a result of the countys’ streamlining measures.
The success pointed to by S&P Global has been the result of a united, combined effort by many people within county government, efforts sustained over a long period of time. Camden County is blessed to have a dedicated group of elected officials and a hard working crew of county employees. The independent, incredibly positive reviews of Camden County finances in these documents demonstrates the results of their efforts and I would like to thank all of them for their work in making Camden County government so successful.”Rating Presentation Final - Camden County - Series 2022 - 06.01.2022