Fitch, S&P affirm credit ratings for series of Sarasota County bonds used to pay for Sheriff’s Office facilities

County Commission approved issuance of bonds on April 11

The county Administration Center is located in downtown Sarasota. File photo

Two series of Sarasota County bonds recently had their credit ratings affirmed by two global agencies, and one agency also affirmed the county’s AAA general obligation rating, the county has announced.

These are “the latest indications of the county’s healthy financial position and stable outlook,” a news release says.

Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings each announced AA+ ratings this week for the county’s $16.9-million capital improvement revenue refunding bonds (series 2018A), while Fitch Ratings provided an AA+ and S&P Global Ratings an AA on $23.2 million in infrastructure sales surtax revenue refunding bonds (series 2018), the release explains. “This is in addition to affirmations of ratings on similar outstanding bonds,” the release points out.

The issuance of the bonds was approved by the Sarasota County Commission at its meeting on April 11. The proceeds will be used to refinance interim borrowings that funded improvements to the new Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office administrative headquarters on Cattleridge Boulevard in Sarasota and various other capital improvement projects, the release adds.

S&P Global Ratings indicted its affirmed ratings reflected “the county’s growing, strong and diverse local economy,” the release notes

In addition, Fitch Ratings affirmed AA+ ratings for Sarasota County’s communication services tax and second guaranteed entitlement revenue bonds, the release says. Fitch’s report noted that the county’s AAA general obligation rating “reflects the strength of the county’s low long-term debt liabilities and continued sound financial operations … and solid expenditure control.”

“These latest ratings are yet another positive sign of the financial health of Sarasota County as an organization and as a community,” said County Administrator Jonathan Lewis in the release. “The independent ratings agencies have affirmed what we already know about the county’s sound financial operations and the prudent actions of our county commission.”

The ratings come just a few weeks after Fitch affirmed an AA+ credit rating for Sarasota County’s utility system revenue bonds. Additionally, in November 2017, both Fitch and S&P gave AA+ ratings to the approximately $21.5-million capital improvement revenue bonds the county issued to finance its portion of the Atlanta Braves’ Spring Training facility in North Port, the release points out.