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County maintains ‘stable’ credit rating

County maintains ‘stable’ credit rating

International credit rating agency Fitch Ratings affirmed stable credit ratings for Tulare County’s implied general obligation and certificates of participation (COPs) series.

County officials say the stable credit ratings will have positive implications should the County seek to finance future capital projects such as new construction, expansion, renovation, or replacement projects to facilities.

Citing Tulare County’s stable economy, healthy financial position, and manageable long term liabilities, Fitch Ratings affirmed the impliedgeneral obligation at AA- and the COPs series at A+. An “A” assignment denotes high credit quality while an “AA” assignment denotes very high credit quality, according to Fitch Ratings.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Pete Vander Poel said the affirmation of stable credit ratings is reflective of Tulare County’s strong financial performance during tough economic times.

“The Fitch rating issued today is fantastic news,” Chairman Vander Poel said. “This rating is validation of the County’s strong financial position that has resulted from fiscally responsible actions by the Board and County Administration.”

County Administrative Officer Jean Rousseau said the stable credit ratings will save taxpayers’ money should Tulare County choose to borrow money in the future because the positive ratings allow for more flexibility and lower interest rates in financing long-term projects such as roads and facilities.

Earlier this month, Rousseau reported to the Board of Supervisors that Tulare County’s remaining $16.4 million COPs debt is scheduled to be paid off by August 2015.

“When our COPs debt is paid off, the Board of Supervisors will consider issuing more debt or take a ‘pay as you go’ approach when paying for future capital projects,” Rousseau said. “If they decide to issue a bond, we will be in a great position to obtain low interest rates.”

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