FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Santa Ana, Calif. (November 16, 2018) – This week the County of Orange received an upgrade in its
Issuer Default Rating (IDR) from Fitch Ratings to AAA and a reaffirmation of its Issuer Credit Rating (ICR)
from S&P Global Ratings of AA+. In addition, on November 8, the United States Bankruptcy Court
granted the County’s Motion for Order to close the County’s 1994 bankruptcy case.
“The County of Orange should be extremely proud of its fiscal standing and how we’ve fully recovered
from the 1994 bankruptcy,” said Chairman Andrew Do, First District. “This is a result of the prudent
stewardship by this Board of Supervisors, our past Boards and by the dedicated professional staff of the
Credit rating agencies cited Orange County’s growth in property values as well as one the country’s
strongest economic base in bestowing its ratings.
“The bankruptcy taught the County a hard lesson from which the Board instituted controls, oversight
and installed fiscally conservative policies through which we have emerged financially with a strong
balance sheet and a better ability to deliver the best possible government services,” said Vice Chairman
Shawn Nelson, Fourth District.
In addition, the credit ratings agencies noted the County’s strong management with its sound fiscal
management, good financial policies and practices coupled with its strong budgetary performance and
budgetary flexibility as factors further solidifying their ratings determinations.
“The citizens of Orange County can take pride in all that we have done since 1994 to ensure fiscal
soundness and financial prudence,” said Supervisor Michelle Steel, Second District.
The County of Orange made its final bankruptcy debt recovery payment in July 2017 under its 1996
bankruptcy exit plan. The court agreed to formally close the case this week.
“I was elected in 1996 just after the bankruptcy occurred with a mandate to make the Board of
Supervisors responsible financial stewards and to put safeguards in place. During my entire tenure of 12
years, I have done exactly that. Technically we may be out of bankruptcy, but the County must remain
vigilant and have safeguards in place to ensure that this tragedy isn’t repeated,” said Supervisor Todd
Spitzer, Third District.
The rating agencies have a bullish outlook on the County’s future given expected continued growth in
property tax revenues and its sound strategic planning practices that help address budgetary shortfalls
before they occur.
“By exploring the County’s land holdings and entering into long-term lease arrangements with property
developers, we will continue to add to our discretionary revenue. This will help the County weather
future troubles,” said Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, Fifth District.