Tuesday, January 16, 2007

County's Fiscal Health Gets Kudos

County's Fiscal Health Gets Kudos
By Amanda Janis/Business Editor

Solano County's fiscal health and financial management were recently commended by one of the foremost credit rating services in the industry.

Impressed with the county's ability to increase reserves, exceed formal policy targets for its general fund, and pay $10 million in debt ahead of schedule, Standard & Poor's upgraded its rating from A+ to AA- on the county's outstanding taxable bonds. The financial services firm evaluates bond issuers and accordingly assigns ratings ranging from AAA to D.

"We expect that Solano County's limited capital needs and continued strong financial management will allow the county to maintain solid operating and reserve levels," said Sussan Corson, Standard & Poor's credit analyst, in an issued statement.

Charles Lomeli, Solano County treasurer, noted in a written statement that the upgraded rating not only serves to endorse the county's management team and fiscal policies, but will result in monetary savings.

"This rating action will save the county interest costs on the current refunding and future borrowings by issuing bonds with lower interest rates due to the AA- rating and the ability to issue bonds with little or no bond insurance," Lomeli said.

Standard & Poor's bond ratings upgrade comes on the heels of an approval by the Board of Supervisors to refinance a series of bonds issued in 2002. Refinancing the bonds, which helped finance the county's new government center, will result in an estimated savings of $150,000 annually, or $3.2 million total.

Amanda Janis can be reached at business@thereporter.com.

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