Rating Action: Moody's assigns Aa1 to Horry County, SC's GO bonds; outlook stableGlobal Credit Research - 29 Aug 2022New York, August 29, 2022 -- Moody's Investors Service has assigned Aa1 general obligation unlimited tax (GOULT) ratings to Horry County, SC's $35.7 million General Obligation Bonds, Series 2022A and $1.5 million General Obligation Bonds (Horry County Fire Protection District), Series 2022B. Moody's maintains the Aa1 rating on the county's outstanding GOULT debt, which will total approximately $99 million following the new issuances. The outlook is stable.RATINGS RATIONALEThe Aa1 GOULT rating incorporates the county's strong revenue base that remained resilient over the last two years despite a sharp (albeit temporary) economic slowdown in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The rating also reflects the county's trend of balanced financial operations, strong reserves, and manageable long-term liabilities. These strengths are balanced against the county's resident income metrics that are lower than similarly rated counties, along with its relatively high reliance on a tourism economy and exposure to environmental risks.RATING OUTLOOKThe stable outlook reflects the likelihood that the county's financial position will remain strong, supported by management's conservative budgeting and formal fiscal policies. The outlook also considers the county's large tax base that will continue to experience steady growth.FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO AN UPGRADE OF THE RATINGS- Significant improvement in resident income and wealth levels- Continued economic diversification away from tourismFACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO A DOWNGRADE OF THE RATINGS- Sustained declines in reserves and liquidity- Material increase in total long-term liabilitiesLEGAL SECURITYThe county's GOULT bonds are backed by the full faith, credit and taxing power of the county, and there shall be levied a property tax, without limit, for the repayment of the bonds. The Series 2022B, 2021C, 2020B, 2016A, and 2011A bonds are first backed by and payable from an unlimited property tax that is levied within the Horry County Fire Protection District. In the event the taxes levied in the fire district are insufficient to pay debt service on the fire protection bonds, the county is required to levy and collect property taxes on all taxable property in the county sufficient to cover debt service on the bonds.USE OF PROCEEDSThe Series 2022A GOULT bonds will finance several capital projects, including construction of a public safety training facility, acquisition and renovation of county office space, and rehabilitation of multiple buildings and complexes. The 2022B GOULT bonds will fund a portion of the cost of expanding the county's firefighting facilities.PROFILEHorry County provides a range of standard municipal services including public safety, road maintenance, planning and zoning, public health, parks and recreation, among several other services. The county's population was 351,029 as of the 2020 US Census.METHODOLOGYThe principal methodology used in these ratings was US Local Government General Obligation Debt published in January 2021 and available at https://ratings.moodys.com/api/rmc-documents/70015. Alternatively, please see the Rating Methodologies page on https://ratings.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.REGULATORY DISCLOSURESFor further specification of Moody's key rating assumptions and sensitivity analysis, see the sections Methodology Assumptions and Sensitivity to Assumptions in the disclosure form. Moody's Rating Symbols and Definitions can be found on https://ratings.moodys.com/rating-definitions.For ratings issued on a program, series, category/class of debt or security this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series, category/class of debt, security or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the credit rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular credit rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the issuer/deal page for the respective issuer on https://ratings.moodys.com.The ratings have been disclosed to the rated entity or its designated agent(s) and issued with no amendment resulting from that disclosure.These ratings are solicited. Please refer to Moody's Policy for Designating and Assigning Unsolicited Credit Ratings available on its website https://ratings.moodys.com.Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.Moody's general principles for assessing environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks in our credit analysis can be found at https://ratings.moodys.com/documents/PBC_1288235.The Global Scale Credit Rating on this Credit Rating Announcement was issued by one of Moody's affiliates outside the EU and is endorsed by Moody's Deutschland GmbH, An der Welle 5, Frankfurt am Main 60322, Germany, in accordance with Art.4 paragraph 3 of the Regulation (EC) No 1060/2009 on Credit Rating Agencies. Further information on the EU endorsement status and on the Moody's office that issued the credit rating is available on https://ratings.moodys.com.The Global Scale Credit Rating on this Credit Rating Announcement was issued by one of Moody's affiliates outside the UK and is endorsed by Moody's Investors Service Limited, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5FA under the law applicable to credit rating agencies in the UK. Further information on the UK endorsement status and on the Moody's office that issued the credit rating is available on https://ratings.moodys.com.Please see https://ratings.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.Please see the issuer/deal page on https://ratings.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating. 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