NEW YORK - Moody's Investors Service said it has upgraded to A1 from Baa2 the rating on Williams County, N.D.'s $13.85 million outstanding sales tax revenue bonds and concluded the review for possible upgrade.

The rating was placed under review for possible upgrade with the publication of a new methodology for U.S. municipal bonds backed by special tax revenues.

The bonds are secured by a broad half-cent countywide sales and use tax authorized by the Home Rule Charter and Ordinance of 2006 and approved by voters in June 2006.

Moody's has also affirmed the A1 issuer rating on the county's general obligation pledge.

The bonds are secured by a broad half-cent countywide sales and use tax.

The upgrade to A1 reflects improved coverage levels from a growing revenue source, strong legal protections including a closed lien on a sales tax that is legally restricted for bond repayment, and ample reserves held in a bond redemption fund.

The rating also considers the county's modest but growing sales tax base with economic concentration in the oil industry.

The affirmation of the A1 issuer rating reflects the county's modest but growing tax base, strong financial operations with ample reserves, average socioeconomic profile, and a somewhat above average direct debt burden.

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