County Keeps High Bond Ratings

The nation’s top ratings agencies reaffirmed the County’s stellar credit and financial standing this week, issuing high bond ratings again for the coming fiscal year.

Standard & Poor’s and Fitch affirmed the County’s highest ratings of AAA for general credit worthiness. Moody’s had previously affirmed the County’s second highest rating of Aa1 in February.

All three ratings agencies assigned the highest possible ratings for the County’s short term borrowing as well.

The ratings reflect the County’s ongoing financial strength and help significantly save money when it comes to borrowing.

“These ratings affirm Wall Street’s belief that the County has weathered the financial storms of recent years and is in strong shape to meet the needs of the future,” said Supervisor Greg Cox, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “Our high credit ratings will allow us to save taxpayer dollars on future projects and reinvest the savings in the community to provide more services for San Diegans.”

The credit rating agencies forecast a stable outlook for the County due to conservative budgeting, strong management and the region’s sizeable, deep and diverse economy. They also cited the County’s low debt level and healthy financial reserves. Standard & Poor’s noted that the County’s median home prices and assessed property value are increasing while defaults and foreclosures are decreasing.

“The ratings are a testament to the responsible and disciplined financial practices of our board that have continued to guide the County, even through the difficulties of the last few years,” said Donald F. Steuer, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer/Chief Operating Officer. “We’re pleased to continue to have such a strong vote of confidence from the three top ratings agencies.”

Fitch noted in a release that “steady recovery continues” locally, citing ongoing declines in unemployment rates which compare favorably to the state average.

“Employment levels have risen steadily since early 2010 and exceed pre-recession peaks,” the release said.

Michele Clock is a group communications officer with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact