It’s time for some good budget news.
Difficult budget decisions by our Board of Supervisors and county agencies have again been rewarded with a Triple-A rating, the highest bond ratings available by all three national ratings agencies, Standard & Poor’s, Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service.
The high bond ratings mean that the county can sell its municipal bonds at a very low interest rate, saving millions for taxpayers (estimated at $735.48 million to date) and enabling us to use those funds to renovate and build schools and police stations and other critical infrastructure needs.
In addition, policy changes adopted for the current Fiscal Year 2016 Budget enabled Moody’s to revise its outlook on the county from negative (since 2014) to stable. Moody’s noted that the upgrade in their outlook was the result of:
- Recently strengthened comprehensive fiscal policies.
- The county’s large and diverse tax base with socioeconomic indicators that are well above average.
- Reasonable debt burden with manageable future borrowing plans.
The favorable bond ratings enabled us to sell bonds to Morgan Stanley and Company at a low interest rate of 2.45 percent on Jan. 26.
These Series 2016A bonds generated $250.7 million to fund (after costs of issuance) the following project areas:
- Schools: $155 million
- Transportation Improvements and Facilities: $43.2 million
- Parks and Parks Facilities: $20 million
- Public Safety Facilities: $18.5 million
- Libraries: $7 million
- Flood Control: $6 million
County voters approved these bond projects during elections held from 2006 to 2012.
This bond sale included a refinancing of outstanding county debt due to favorable interest rates, which resulted in savings of $12 million.