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County Keeps High Bond Ratings

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County Administration Center

January 26, 2009

Despite a slumping economy, a lingering state budget crisis and a slowdown in the revenue that fuels many of its programs, the County of San Diego continues to maintain its rock solid credit, the nation’s three top ratings agencies have announced.

“I am pleased that the County is maintaining our strong credit ratings in the face of the current economic crisis,” said Dianne Jacob, Chairwoman of the County Board of Supervisors.

“Tough choices lie ahead as local governments across the nation struggle with shrinking revenues. The County is no exception. The three credit rating agencies support what I have long believed: the County is well-run and prepared to manage through difficult times to ensure that we remain responsible stewards of public dollars.”

The three municipal credit rating agencies affirmed the County’s strong issuer ratings of AAA (Standard & Poor’s), AA+ (Fitch Ratings) and Aa2 (Moody’s).  Additionally, the three assigned ratings address the County’s planned issuance of $141.7 million in lease revenue bonds for the construction of the new County Operations Center in Kearny Mesa: AA+ (Standard & Poor’s), AA (Fitch) and A1 (Moody’s).

“Affirmation of the County’s credit ratings by the three independent credit rating agencies signals confidence in the County’s ability to protect the taxpayer’s bottom line in tough economic times,” said Walt Ekard, the County’s Chief Administrative Officer.

“These ratings validate the strong management discipline and commitment to ongoing fiscal stability by the Board of Supervisors.”

According to Fitch, the “County’s strong fiscal discipline and high reserve levels should enable it to sustain sound finances despite minimal tax base growth and inevitable reductions in state funding.

“The County’s financial operations remain healthy and leave it well-positioned to handle an economic and revenue slowdown.”

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