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Medians And Credit Factors: Wisconsin Municipalities And Counties


Overall, municipal credit ratings in Wisconsin remain resilient with strong overall credit fundamentals, as exemplified by stable tax bases, favorable income and wealth levels, and maintenance of typically very strong reserves.

S&P Global Ratings maintains 130 ratings on municipalities and counties in Wisconsin. Currently, about 71% of Wisconsin municipalities and counties are highly rated ('AA-' or above), and 29% are rated 'A+' or below. Additionally, most of the portfolio's ratings have stable outlooks; only five entities have non-stable outlooks, and all are negative.

We anticipate continued overall stability in the Wisconsin municipal portfolio for the coming year. Most Wisconsin municipalities and counties continue to see stable and growing tax bases. We are monitoring the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on local economies across the state. However, up to this point, the underlying economic metrics have not been materially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic or its related recessionary pressures as there was not any significant business interruption over the past year. This benefits their financial operations, given that property taxes play an important role in the revenue stream. Health and human service funds can put some pressure on county budgets, but we typically observe ample cash in the general fund to offset some of the unpredictability in those services. Intergovernmental revenue, mainly from state funding, comprises a large share of most municipalities' budgets, typically over 40%.

Wisconsin municipalities and counties contribute to Wisconsin Retirement System, a cost-sharing, multiple-employer, defined-benefit plan for retiree pension benefits. As of fiscal 2020, the system is 103% funded on a statewide basis, and it continues to be among the top funded state pension systems. Issuers typically fund their other postemployment benefits (OPEBs) on a pay-as-you-go basis. As a result, we believe Wisconsin municipalities and counties continue to have manageable fixed pension & OPEB costs.

Wisconsin Municipalities and Counties

Table 1

Wisconsin Municipalities: Medians
AAA AA+ AA AA- A+ A A- BBB+ or Lower
Projected per capita EBI (%) 235 136 100 85 83 74 80 79
Market value per capita ($) 324,499 159,104 107,701 74,618 70,531 50,767 50,674 64,683
Available general fund (%) 33 93 40 51 30 41 6 2
General fund performance (%) 0.03 19.80 1.33 1.43 0.56 (1.71) (7.77) (3.57)
Cash and expense (%) 37 126 89 100 70 154 38 51
Carrying charge (%) 17.93 31.98 16.81 16.33 18.74 20.26 11.93 14.15
Pension ARC + OPEB as % expense 1.13 0.72 2.14 2.40 2.37 2.19 3.12 1.64
EBI--Effective buying income. ARC--Annual required contribution. OPEB--Other postemployment benefits.

Table 2

Wisconsin Counties: Medians
Projected per capita EBI (%) 119 94 82 81 74
Market value per capita ($) 135,860 106,504 88,725 87,357 85,672
Available general fund (%) 25 60 61 45 30
General fund performance (%) 1.24 5.74 1.54 (3.03) 0.38
Cash and expense (%) 49 61 54 45 34
Carrying charge (%) 14.00 7.22 5.74 6.67 5.84
Pension ARC + OPEB as % expense 2.37 2.58 3.42 3.13 3.05
EBI--Effective buying income. ARC--Annual required contribution. OPEB--Other postemployment benefits.

Chart 1


Chart 2


Table 3

Wisconsin Municipalities: Ratings List
As of Jan. 28, 2021
This list was prepared by individuals on behalf of the USPF Group of S&P Global Ratings and is current as of Jan. 28, 2021. For the most up to date, accurate, and complete information on any credit ratings referenced in this list, please visit
--ICR linked to obligor's creditworthiness--
Municipality GO Rating Outlook Rating Outlook
Altoona AA- Stable
Amery A+ Stable
Antigo AA- Stable
Appleton AA Stable
Arcadia A Stable
Ashland A+ Stable
Baldwin Vill AA- Stable
Beloit Twn AA- Stable
Boulder Junction Twn AA Stable
Buchanan AA- Stable
Burlington AA- Stable
Campbellsport Vill BBB+ Stable
Clayton A+ Stable A Stable
Clintonville A+ Stable
Cottage Grove Vill AA Stable
Cudahy AA- Stable
Dodgeville AA- Stable
Dousman Vill A+ Stable
Durand AA- Stable
Eau Claire AA Stable
Egg Harbor Vill AA- Stable
Ephraim Vill AA Stable
Evansville AA- Stable
Fennimore A Stable
Florence AA Stable
Fond du Lac AA- Stable
Fort Atkinson AA- Stable
Fredonia Vill AA- Stable
Freedom Twn (Outagamie Cnty) A+ Stable
Grand Chute Twn AA Stable
Hartford AA Stable
Hobart Vill AA Stable
Holmen Vill AA- Stable
Howard Vill AA Stable AA- Stable
Janesville AA Stable
Juneau A Stable
Kaukauna AA- Stable A+ Stable
Kenosha AA Stable
Kimberly Vill AA Stable
Kohler Vill A+ Stable
Kronenwetter Vill AA- Stable A+ Stable
La Crosse AA Stable
Lake Delton Vill AA- Stable
Lake Hallie Vill AA Stable
Lake Mills AA- Stable
Lancaster BBB+ Stable
Lawrence Twn (Brown Cnty) AA- Stable
Ledgeview AA Stable
Liberty Grove Twn AA Stable
Manitowoc AA- Stable
Maple Bluff Vill AAA Stable
Marshall Vill AA- Stable
Mauston City A Stable
Medford AA- Stable A+ Stable
Menomonie A+ Stable
Mequon AA Stable
Merrill A- Negative
Middleton Twn AAA Stable
Milwaukee A Negative A- Negative
Monona AA+ Stable AA Stable
Mount Pleasant Vill A Stable
Mukwonago Vill AA Stable AA- Stable
Neenah AA Stable AA- Stable
New Holstein AA- Stable
Oconto A- Negative
Osseo A+ Stable
Phillips A+ Stable
Platteville AA- Stable
Pleasant Prairie Vill AA Stable
Plover Vill AA Stable
Portage AA- Stable
Pulaski Vill A+ Stable
Racine AA- Stable A+ Stable
Randall Twn AA Stable
Rhinelander A+ Stable
Rib Mountain Twn AA Stable
Rice Lake AA- Stable
Rothschild Vill AA Stable
Salem Lakes Vill AA Stable
Shawano A+ Stable
Sherwood Vill A Stable
Shorewood Hills AAA Stable
Somers AA- Stable
Sparta AA- Stable
St. Joseph Twn A Stable
Stanley A Stable
Superior AA Stable
Tomahawk BBB Stable
Two Rivers BBB Negative
Viroqua A+ Stable
Wales Vill AA+ Stable
Waterford Vill AA- Stable A+ Stable
Waterloo A+ Stable
Watertown A+ Stable
Waupaca City A+ Stable
West Allis AA Stable
West Bend AA Stable
Whitewater A+ Stable
Whiting Vill BBB+ Stable
Windsor Vill AA Stable

Table 4

Wisconsin Counties: Ratings List
As of Jan. 28, 2021
This list was prepared by individuals on behalf of the USPF Group of S&P Global Ratings and is current as of Jan. 28, 2021. For the most up to date, accurate, and complete information on any credit ratings referenced in this list, please visit
County GO Rating Outlook
Barron Cnty AA Stable
Brown Cnty AA Stable
Calumet Cnty AA+ Stable
Dane County AAA Stable
Dunn Cnty AA Negative
Florence County AA- Stable
Forest Cnty A+ Stable
Grant County AA- Stable
Iron Cnty AA- Stable
Jackson County AA Stable
Juneau Cnty A+ Stable
Kenosha Cnty AA+ Stable
Kewaunee Cnty AA- Stable
Lincoln County AA Stable
Lincoln County AA Stable
Marinette Cnty AA Stable
Marquette County AA- Stable
Milwaukee Cnty AA Stable
Monroe Cnty AA- Stable
Oconto Cnty AA+ Stable
Pepin County AA- Stable
Portage County AA Stable
Racine Cnty AA Stable
Rock Cnty AA Stable
Rusk County A+ Stable
Sheboygan Cnty AA- Stable
Taylor County A+ Stable
Trempealeau Cnty AA- Stable
Vernon Cnty AA- Stable
Waushara Cnty AA- Stable

This report does not constitute a rating action.

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