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Monday, January 21 , 2019, 9:21 am | Fair 57º


Santa Barbara County Receives ‘AA+’ Bond Rating

Standard & Poor’s says the county has demonstrated long-term strengths

Reflecting Standard & Poor’s view of the management and long-term credit worthiness of Santa Barbara County, it has assigned the county’s outstanding and new certificate of participation bonds a rating of “AA+.” Moody’s Investors Service recently upgraded the county’s bonds to “Aa3.”

“In our opinion, the county has demonstrated very strong and consistent financial performance for several years,” S&P said in its rating report.

S&P also stated the rating reflects the following long-term strengths of the county: “an experienced management team that has implemented strong financial policies and prudent expenditure controls,” “low overall debt levels” and “consistent maintenance of very strong unreserved general fund balances despite limited financial flexibility due to state mandates.”

Treasurer-Tax Collector Bernice James said the S&P rating is “indicative of the prudent financial oversight and standards of excellent policies and procedures put in place by the county, especially its Debt Advisory Committee.”

In addition to James, county officials serving on the Debt Advisory Committee county Supervisor Janet Wolf, county Executive Officer Michael Brown, Auditor-Controller Robert Geis and county counsel Dennis Marshall.

Certificates of participation are issued by the county to finance capital projects. The new certificates will finance construction of an emergency operations center, a remodel of courthouse space occupied by the public defender, and construction in Santa Maria of an administration and backup emergency operations center building. A local philanthropic donation of more than $2 million will help offset costs of the emergency operations center.

— Stacey Matson is an investment and debt officer with the Santa Barbara County Office of the Treasurer-Tax Collector.


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