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Johnsburg's bond rating rises

JOHNSBURG – The village of Johnsburg got a bump in its credit score.

Standard & Poor's Rating Service, one of the big three rating agencies internationally, raised the village's bond rating to an AA+ from an AA and kept the village's outlook as stable, according to a summary report.

The higher rating could translate into better interest rates for the village, but no future borrowing or refinancing is currently planned, Village Administrator Claudett Peters.

The rating is designed to assess the village's ability to pay back the $3 million in general obligation bonds that it took out to pay for improvements to the village's sewer and water systems.

The plan at the time was to pay the loan using general fund dollars with an increasing portion of the burden to be picked up by new users, but with the housing crisis, those new users never came, Peters said.

Unlike some other area municipalities that have struggled to pay off improvements, Johnsburg has been able to make its payments and still have good cash reserves, which Standard & Poor's report pointed to.

The increased rating was also the result of a "very strong" local economy, "sizable surpluses" over the last few years and good management, according to the report.

The village ran a million dollar surplus in its general fund over the fiscal year that ended last April, raising the amount of reserves it had to $3.7 million, or 496 days of cash on hand, according to annual financial statements submitted to the Illinois Comptroller's Office.

The village does not plan on paying back its general fund for the loan payments if the new users eventually come through, Peters said. Instead, the Village Board is looking at the payments as an investment in its infrastructure.

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