New Jersey’s Atlantic County was revised to stable from negative by Moody’s Investors Service aided by improved credit conditions in Atlantic City.
“The revision of the outlook to stable from negative reflects our expectation that, given management's strong track record and detailed planning, the county's finances will continue the historical trend of remarkable stability,” said Moody’s analyst Douglas Goldmacher in a report released late Wednesday. “The outlook also incorporates the recent improvements in Atlantic City's credit quality and the reduced probability of any contagion.”
Moody’s affirmed Atlantic County’s Aa2 bond rating, which Goldmacher says reflects adequate reserves, a modest debt burden and low pension liabilities. Goldmacher noted that the county located along the South Jersey coast has “significant borrowable liquidity” that helps insulate it from any spillover that many occur from the ongoing fiscal crisis in Atlantic City. Moody’s rates Atlantic CityCaa3 and revised its outlook on the Jersey Shore gambling hub to positive from negative on May 11 citing fiscal progress since a state takeover took effect last November.
A December report released by Moody’s showed that Atlantic City’s share of Atlantic County’s tax base is down to 18% from a peak of 39% in 2007. The county is also aided by a New Jersey law that requires Atlantic City and other cities to make payments to counties and schools before taking their share, according to Moody’s.