Yes, reasonable financial forecasts project that the County can afford the anticipated debt service payments on the general obligation bonds. The ratio of debt service expenditures as a percentage of total general fund expenditures can, pursuant to the county’s financial policies, be between 10-12%. The County’s debt service is currently around 2.7% and even with the issuance of $96 million in General Obligation bonds, it is anticipated that our debt service will not exceed 8%.
Moreover, two critically important facts underlie this statement: one, the entire amount will not be borrowed all at once, but over time, as the projects are ready to be constructed; two, when any project is ready for funding, the County and its financial advisors will undertake a careful analysis of the current market conditions, and of the timing, amount, structure, interest rates, operational needs, and debt policies before making a final decision to move forward with bond issuance. Goochland County currently has earned two AAA ratings from bond rating agencies, the highest rating possible. Because of this, the County will be able to obtain the lowest possible interest rates available in the market.
Each year the County goes through the annual budget process of planning current expenditures to meet current ongoing revenues. In anticipation of issuing future debt, the County has been increasing the amount budgeted for debt service each year to ensure that operational needs as well as debt service needs can be met. The County will continue to use conservative annual budgeting as well as multi-year planning to forecast the debt service needs of the County as well as the operational needs.