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Woodstock’s Full Faith and Credit Upgraded

Last November, Moody's lowered its official outlook on the credit of the United States federal government from "stable" to "negative." They cited large financial deficits and declining debt affordability as key factors driving this decision, calling into question our federal government's appetite for fiscal consolidation and debt reduction at any time in the future.

Continued political division at a national level further erodes hope of any solutions to this debt crisis and makes it increasingly difficult to see Moody's position as unreasonable. Obviously, the long-term ramifications of doubt in the United States' full faith and credit foreshadow potentially catastrophic consequences, and they raise questions about why governments and public officials cannot practice common sense and keep their financial houses in order. But this is not always the case.

Less than one month after Moody's downgraded the United States of America, they upgraded the City of Woodstock's credit rating from Aa2 to Aa1, just one rating shy of the highest credit quality possible. In its upgrade, Moody's cited the City's years of work improving Woodstock's reserves and the continued economic growth for driving stronger citizen wealth and income metrics. They spoke to Woodstock's maintenance of consistently low long-term liabilities (living within our means).

On the same day, S&P Global Ratings upgraded Woodstock from AA to AA+, similarly citing "improving economic metrics, given overall tax digest growth and price appreciation" and "sustained reserve levels due to consistent positive budgetary performance."

Don't let the "overall tax digest growth" fool you. Just a few short months ago, I wrote a Woodstock Family Life magazine article to thank our City Council for making Woodstock the only city in Georgia to not raise property taxes in 2023. Those increased tax revenues are occurring because our city's economy is more valuable. Woodstock is one of the very few local governments that didn't raise taxes in 2023 and is still earning praise and upgrades for its creditworthiness.

"Woodstock is an economically strong and well-managed leader in Georgia's group of cities, further explaining why so many want to visit and move here," said Woodstock's Chief Financial Officer Ron Shelby.

When it comes to financial stewardship, many leaders talk a big game — but Woodstock is the product of truly excellent fiscal management. We owe much gratitude to Woodstock's City Council, its city manager, its finance team, and an incredible staff and community that can make things like this happen. These upgrades mean growing savings in real dollars for citizens, as financial instruments become even cheaper for our city to utilize. We are well on our way to achieving the highest credit rating in future reviews.

My commitment to you remains the same: We will prioritize long-term financial health in Woodstock. We will not shy away from investments in Woodstock's ongoing success, but our priority will always be to remain a balanced and fiscally conservative city that continues to be healthy and sustainable well into the future.

Woodstock is worth celebrating for many reasons, and I'm genuinely grateful to those who helped bring about this incredible milestone. Congratulations, everyone! 

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