County maintains high bond ratings

3 rating agencies issue high marks

Despite the struggling economy, the nation’s three top rating agencies gave San Diego County high ratings for general credit worthiness, county officials report.

Standard and Poor’s and Fitch gave the county their highest ratings of AAA. Moody’s Investor Services gave the County their second highest rating of Aa1.

The three municipal credit rating agencies forecast a stable outlook for the county due to conservative budgeting, cuts in spending in response to declining revenues, a low debt level and healthy financial reserves that could help offset future state cuts.

In addition, Standard and Poor’s, Fitch, and Moody’s addressed $19.3 million in certificates of participation (COPS) for refunding the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) Tower Complex and gave them ratings: AA+ (Standard and Poor’s, Fitch) and Aa3 (Moody’s).

“San Diego County is working hard to remain fiscally responsible during continuing economic challenges and funding cuts from Sacramento,” said Bill Horn, chairman of the County Board of Supervisors.

“Thanks to our reductions in spending and conservative debt management, the county is doing what it can to help encourage private sector job creation and remain good stewards of tax payer dollars.”

“The ratings underscore the faith these credit agencies have in the County’s abilities to manage its finances in good times and bad,” said Walt Ekard, the county’s chief administrative officer.

According to Standard and Poor’s, “We do not believe the rating will change within the outlook’s two-year horizon due to our expectation that the county will likely maintain, what we consider, good financial performance and contingency reserves despite the recent economic downturn and uncertainty over state program funding.”

   
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