Moody’s Investors Service affirmed Linn County’s Aaa rating but revised its outlook to negative from stable stemming from pressures associated with the devastating floods that hit the area and across the Midwest late this spring.
The county sold $15 million of general fund cash flow anticipation notes last week. The county has just $1.2 million of outstanding long-term general obligation debt on its books.
The county’s top rating reflects its large tax base as the state’s largest manufacturing center, encompassing the Cedar Rapids metropolitan region, historically stable financial operations supported with conservative policies and financial flexibility, and minimal debt.
The diverse economy has contributed to a “substantial and moderately growing tax base” valued at a $14.1 billion last year, with average annual full valuation growth at 6.3% since 2002. The county also benefits from above state-average wealth levels and low unemployment.
However, the recent flooding in the county is likely to result in a decline in the county’s tax base. Figures are not yet final, but among the population of nearly 200,000 about 25,000 residents were displaced with 9.2 miles flooded and nearly 7,200 parcels of property affected.