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County Receives Highest Credit Ratings

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The County of San Diego has received the highest rating possible from Standard & Poor’s (S&P) on the planned issuance of Tax and Revenue Anticipation Notes (TRANs) later this month. Assigned a rating of SP-1+ by S&P, the County’s TRANs are a vehicle for short-term borrowing used to meet seasonal cash flow needs. The SP-1+ rating translates into lower costs of debt for the County and an overall savings to taxpayers.

“The County of San Diego is visibly continuing the commitment to responsible management of public dollars,” said County Chief Administrative Officer Walt Ekard.

“The County’s robust credit ratings are a significant and independent vote of confidence in the County’s fiscal stability, resulting from a strong direction from the Board of Supervisors. Taxpayers should take pride in this accomplishment.”

The S&P rating follows an announcement last week of a MIG 1 rating by Moody’s on the County’s TRANs, its highest rating for short-term notes. The County also received the highest rating possible from Fitch, F1+, for the TRANs. In issuing the rating, Moody’s noted that the County’s TRANs represents a relatively low amount of borrowing, only $75 million, indicating strong liquidity and a stable cash position. The County’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2008-09 totals $5.15 billion.

The strong ratings are a significant achievement for the County in the current climate of economic uncertainty, arising from a significant State budget deficit as well as slowing property tax and sales tax revenues.

The three national municipal credit rating agencies also left the County’s strong overall credit ratings of Aa2 (Moody’s) and AA+ (S&P, Fitch) unchanged.