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FORSYTH CO. (N.C.) $38 MILLION GO BONDS RATED 'AA+' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

 NEW YORK, Nov. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Forsyth County, NC's $33,080,000 general obligation bonds are rated 'AA+' by Fitch. The bonds consist of $25,580,000 refunding bonds, series 1993A, due serially March 1, 1994- 2010, and $7,500,000 school bonds, due Jan. 1, 1996-2015. The bonds are selling competitively Nov. 16. The credit trend is stable.
 The rating reflects the county's very high credit fundamentals, including strong finances and management, below-average to moderate debt levels, healthy income levels, and relatively low unemployment rates. The county encompasses the City of Winston-Salem, which has grown as a regional health-care, banking, and trade center. Although some concentration remains in tobacco manufacturing, employment in other sectors is expanding. RJR Nabisco, Inc.'s tobacco unit recently announced elimination of 1,000 jobs. Further economic diversification is likely as continued growth prospects are good.
 Overall debt as a percent of the county's large market value is below average at 1.8 percent and about average on a per capita basis at $1,039. Although additional issuance is planned over the next seven years, debt levels should not rise appreciably as the county designs its debt issuance around affordability and keeps debt service at less than 10 percent of the budget. About three-quarters of the long-term $146 million capital plan is for school construction and improvements. Debt amortization is slightly above average.
 Financial management, planning, and performance are strong. With another year of positive financial operations, the unreserved general fund balance increased an estimated $3 million in fiscal 1993. The large $29.4 million available general fund balance represents a healthy 16.9 percent of revenues in fiscal 1993. The 13.4 percent general fund budget increase for fiscal 1994 is attributable largely to the opening of the new jail facility, employee cost-of-living increases, and other expenditure adjustments. A small one cent tax rate increase was necessary, despite the property tax base increasing 8.4 percent after revaluation, because of the increased spending requirements. Approximately 57 percent of the county's general revenues are derived from property taxes. The top 10 taxpayers represent 17.4 percent of the tax base, with RJR Nabisco, Inc. accounting for 11.0 percent. Current tax collections are excellent.
 -0- 11/11/93
 /CONTACT: Stewart Simon of Fitch, 212-908-0508/


CO: ST: North Carolina IN: SU: RTG

WB -- NY035 -- 3185 11/11/93 11:24 EST
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Date:Nov 11, 1993
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