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Media Release

Standard & Poor's Upgrades Bond Rating for the Town of Hilton Head Island

Release Date: January 2, 2019

Contact Information:
Carolyn Grant email icon , Communications Director, 843-341-4618


Standard & Poor's (S & P) has raised its bond rating for the Town of Hilton Head Island's special obligation revenue beach preservation fee bonds from an A to AA. The bonds were issued to fund the Town’s beach renourishment projects.

The higher rating resulted from the application of Standard & Poor's updated ratings criteria, released January 2018 in Ratings Direct. S & P also affirmed its AA rating on the Town's series 2011A and 2011B special obligation hospitality fee bonds. Last year, all three national bond rating firms affirmed the Town’s general obligation (GO) bond ratings. They are:

  • Moody's             Aaa/Stable Outlook
  • S & P                AA+/Stable Outlook
  • Fitch Ratings      AA+/Stable Outlook

"This is very good news. We are very pleased with the upgrade from Standard & Poor's. This is another affirmation from independent rating agencies' examination of the Town's operations and finances since Hurricane Matthew, and the Town's response to the hurricane," said Stephen G. Riley, Town Manager.

"After a difficult year operationally and financially with Hurricane Matthew, Town Council responded strongly to help restore the Island and its reserves. This is an affirmation of the steps Council has taken, and we are pleased for the favorable ratings on the Town's behalf," Riley said.

Riley also attributed these strong bond ratings to the Town's ongoing commitment to diversified revenues, and strong financial practices and budgetary policies. Rating agencies often cite factors in their ratings such as the Town's strong financial position, supported by comprehensive fiscal policies, ample financial reserves, history of operating stability and a low direct debt burden. The rating takes into consideration the Town's importance as an established tourism destination and its large tax base.