Did You Know...
Moody’s Investors Service published its Annual Issuer Comment which shows Findlay City Schools’ credit position is of a very high quality and is now stronger at Aa2 than its initial rating in 2010 of Aa3 when the district issued bonds for its middle school and Millstream construction projects. The full comment from Moody’s can be seen here. School Treasurer Mike Barnhart stated that multiple factors go into the rating decision, including the local financial climate as well as the district’s documented financial statements. “Such a high rating is something of which the whole Findlay community can be proud. I especially want to credit my office staff and district leadership whose ongoing diligence and attentiveness enable our recurring clean audits and award winning financial statements which makes such a high rating possible.”
Auditor of State Award with Distinction
March 2019 – Auditor of State Award with Distinction! The picture shows Treasurer, Mike Barnhart and Auditor of State Rep Lori Brodie. Such an award represents timely filing of financial reports to the Auditor of State’s office no findings for recovery, no material citations, no material weaknesses, no significant deficiencies, no single audit findings, nor any questioned costs. The award is also an indication that the Auditor has made no comments related to ethical referrals, public meetings, nor any public records concerns. The Findlay City Schools have received clean audits for 28 consecutive years.
Apply for Property Tax Reduction at Age 65
Applications for property tax reduction available thru June 1st. If you are a homeowner who is at least 65 years old, or if you are permanently and totally disabled and own a home in Ohio, you can apply for a reduction in your property taxes called the homestead exemption.
Homeowners at least 65 years old can apply to have the first $25,000 of market value on their primary residence be exempt from property taxes.
Younger homeowners who are permanently and totally disabled could also be eligible for the homestead exemption.
The Homestead Exemption Application must be filed in the auditor’s office after the first Monday in January and on or before the first Monday in June. “Filed” means received by the auditor’s office, not postmarked by the due date.
People who have already applied do not need to apply again.
Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting
The Findlay Schools have been awarded the Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015. The award comes from the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO) which has judged that the Findlay Schools’ Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (available here) substantially conforms to principles and standards of ASBO’s Certificate of Excellence Program. This is the 25th consecutive year that Findlay Schools has been recognized by ASBO for exceeding professional standards in financial reporting and full disclosure. Treasurer Mike Barnhart credited his predecessors for establishing such a long tradition of financial excellence in Findlay Schools, and he thanked his staff for their assistance in continuing that fine tradition. Mr. Barnhart stated, “As public servants we must continue to strive to make every taxpayer dollar go further and further and remain fiscally vigilant. Such awards demonstrate good stewardship and help establish favorable bond ratings which has led to lower interest rates on financing our bonds used to build our new middle schools and the new Millstream. There are over 600 school districts in Ohio and I am not aware of any other Ohio school district that has such a long tradition of this award.”
MOODY'S ASSIGNS INITIAL Aa3 RATING TO FINDLAY CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT'S (OH) $54.2 MILLION SCHOOL FACILITIES CONSTRUCTION AND IMPROVEMENT BONDS, SERIES 2010A AND SERIES 2010B
NEW YORK, January 13, 2010 — Moody’s Investors Service has assigned an initial Aa3 rating to Findlay City School District’s (OH) $3.9 million School Facilities Construction and Improvement Bonds (General Obligation Unlimited Tax), Series 2010A and $50.3 million School Facilities Construction and Improvement Bonds (General Obligation Unlimited Tax), Series 2010B (Federally Taxable Build America Bonds). Both series of debt were authorized by 51% of voters in November 2009 to support the district’s local share of a $73 million Master Facilities Plan through the Ohio School Facilities Commission. Secured by the district’s general obligation unlimited tax pledge, proceeds of the bonds will fund the construction of two new middle schools as well as substantial capital improvements throughout the district. The Series 2010B bonds will be sold as federally taxable Build America Bonds with the interest reimbursement from the U.S. Department of Treasury expected to reduce overall borrowing costs. Assignment of the initial Aa3 rating reflects the district’s sound financial position supported by a strong election history and prudent fiscal management; diverse local economy anchored by several large employers; and manageable debt profile with no plans to issue additional debt in the foreseeable future.
SOUND FINANCIAL POSITION SUPPORTED BY STRONG ELECTION HISTORY AND PRUDENT FISCAL MANAGEMENT
Moody’s believes the district’s financial position will remain sound due to management’s close adherence to the district’s long-range financial plan and track record of securing the timely approval of operating levies by district voters. After recording a series of operating surpluses, the district closed fiscal 2009 with a General Fund (GAAP) balance of $7.2 million (or an adequate 12.4% of General Fund revenues). The district closed fiscal 2009 with a year-end cash position of $8.8 million (15.2% of General Fund receipts or 58 days true cash on hand). The district secured voter support for the renewal of two five-year current expense levies in 2007 and 2008 by solid margins (approved by 57% and 59% of voters, respectively). The district’s financial operations are guided by a five-year board adopted Fiscal Health Plan and the five-year financial forecast is reviewed by the district’s board on a quarterly basis. Further evidencing strong fiscal management, the district seeks to maintain a cash carryover balance equivalent to at least 40 days true cash on hand. As is common with Ohio school districts, General Fund balances rise and fall with the passage of operating levies and the steady increase in operating costs over time.
The most recent forecast reflects a $2.2 million reduction in the cash carryover balance to $6.2 million (15.0% of projected General Fund receipts or 54 days true cash on hand) in fiscal 2010, followed by a reduction in the cash carryover balance through fiscal 2012. Should the projected reductions materialize the district would close fiscal 2012 with a $1.3 million cash carryover balance (equivalent to 8 days true cash on hand). Officials expect the district will return to voters to restore the five-year current expense levies in November 2011 or May 2012. Favorably, the latter date still allows the district sufficient time to approach voters two times before the district’s cash position would become stressed. Notably, the district has passed every operating levy on the first attempt since 1994. Moody’s expects the district will continue to secure timely authorization of a new operating levy (or levies) in order to maintain reserve levels in-line with the district’s formal targets.
DIVERSE LOCAL ECONOMY; REGIONAL SERVICE AND EMPLOYMENT HUB FOR SURROUNDING AGRICULTURAL COMMUNITIES
The district primarily serves the City of Findlay (GOLT rated Aa3), located 45 miles south of Toledo (GOLT rated Baa1/negative outlook) in northwest Ohio. Findlay is the county seat for Hancock County (GOLT rated Aa3/negative outlook) and serves as a regional trade and service center to the surrounding rural economy. Favorably, the city has successfully attracted a variety of new employers further diversifying the regional economy, which benefits from a long-standing presence of Blanchard Valley Regional Health Center (2,200 employees), Cooper Tire and Rubber (2,040 employees; senior unsecured debt rated B3/stable outlook), Whirlpool (1,800 employees; senior unsecured debt rated Baa3/negative outlook), and Marathon Oil (1,530 employees; senior unsecured debt rated Baa1/stable outlook), the four largest employers in the area. The district also benefits from the institutional presence of the University of Findlay, a liberal arts college located in downtown Findlay with full-time equivalent enrollment of nearly 4,250 students. The district’s unemployment rate has historically been below state and national levels, further illustrating the strength of the local employment base. The district’s moderately sized $2.3 billion tax base continues to experience modest growth, averaging 0.3% annually over the past five years. Limited growth in assessed valuation is primarily due to the state’s phase-out of personal tangible property. Officials expect the district’s real estate valuation will remain essentially flat in 2010. Resident wealth levels approximate state and national norms, with per capita and median family income at 98.8% and 99.9% of national figures, respectively. The district benefits from strong local support for operating levies, with successful passage of all operating levies proposed since 1994. Notably, the district’s November 2009 bond referendum was passed in tandem with a 0.25% increase in the City of Findlay’s income tax rate and a 0.50% increase in Hancock County’s sales tax rate.
MANAGEABLE DEBT PROFILE; NO PLANS TO ISSUE ADDITIONAL DEBT OVER FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE
The district’s enrollment (6,123 students in fiscal 2009) has seen moderate 1.7% average annual decline since 2006 mitigating capacity issues and, given the scale of the Master Facilities Plan, the current issue is expected to meet the district’s facility needs for the foreseeable future. Amortization of principal is below average with 20.2% of outstanding general obligation debt retired in ten years. Though the district’s direct debt burden is somewhat elevated at 2.4% (compared to 1.1% for Ohio school districts rated Aa3), Moody’s expects the district’s debt profile will remain manageable given the lack of additional borrowing plans.
- 2000 City of Findlay population (census): 38,967 (9.1% increase since 1990)
- 2008 City of Findlay population (census estimate): 36,987 (5.1% decrease since 2000)
- 2009 Full valuation: $2.3 billion
- Average annual growth in full value (2005-2009): 0.3%
- City of Findlay per capita income (as a % of national median): 98.8%
- City of Findlay median family income (as a % of national median): 99.9%
- Fiscal 2009 General Fund balance (GAAP): $7.2 million (12.4% of General Fund revenues)
- Fiscal 2009 General Fund balance (cash basis): $8.8 million (15.2% of General Fund cash receipts)
- Fiscal 2010 projected General Fund balance (cash basis): $8.4 million (15.0% of General Fund cash receipts)
- Overall debt burden (direct): 2.8% (2.4%)
- Payout of principal (10 years): 37.1%
- GOULT debt outstanding: $54.2 million, including the current issue
The principal methodology used in rating Findlay City School District’s (OH) Series 2010 bonds was Moody’s General Obligation Bonds Issued by U.S. Local Governments published in October 2009 which is available on www.moodys.com in the Rating Methodologies sub-directory under the Research & Ratings tab. Other methodologies and factors that may have been considered in the process of rating this issuer can also be found in the Rating Methodologies sub-directory on Moody’s website.
ANALYSTS: Sarah Engle, Analyst, Public Finance Group, Moody’s Investors Service Henrietta Chang, Backup Analyst, Public Finance Group, Moody’s Investors Service
CONTACTS: Journalists: (212) 553-0376 Research Clients: (212) 553-1653
Copyright 2010 Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. and/or its licensors and affiliates (collectively, “MOODY’S”). All rights reserved.
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