FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 31, 2015
Contact: Ruth Wardwell, 714-834-2053, Ruth.firstname.lastname@example.org
County’s Credit Ratings Upgraded
(Santa Ana, CA) – Strong management and good financial policies and practices, as well as a strong and diverse economy have resulted in ratings upgrades for the County of Orange.
“This is a Board of Supervisors that is disciplined and fiscally conservative,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Todd Spitzer, Third District. “We understand our County’s bankruptcy history.
We have worked diligently to ensure that we fulfill the obligations of the financial plan we made towards solvency. This acknowledgement from the credit rating agencies is proof positive we are on a strong financial footing.”
The upgrades follow a ratings request from the County as part of a process to prepay a majority of its FY 2016-17 employer contribution to the Orange County Employees Retirement System (OCERS), in exchange for a 5.8 percent discount.
As a result of the rating process, S&P raised the County’s issuer credit rating to AA+ from AA. Also, S&P raised the rating on the County’s outstanding Lease Revenue Bonds and Pension Obligation Bonds from AA- to AA. The outlook on all ratings is stable, and they fall within the “high quality” range of Fitch, Moody’s and S&P’s ratings.
Further, following a surveillance call and review of information provided by the County, Moody’s Investors Service revised the County’s outlook from “negative” to “stable.” The outlook revision reflects a resumed, healthy tax base growth; improved financial performance with increases to reserves and liquidity levels; strong multi-year financial planning practices; and reserve policies that should support favorable future financial performance.
“The ratings upgrades confirm that the County of Orange is in the strongest financial position it has been in for many years,” said County Executive Officer Frank Kim, who served as the County’s chief financial officer for 4 years. “In part, it means we are able to move forward with long-desired projects that benefit OC citizens, like a new animal shelter, an upgrade to the County’s public safety communications system and the year-round homeless shelter.”
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