Sarasota County Legacy Trail bonds earn AAA credit rating from Fitch, S&P

Rating also will facilitate issuance of bonds for new Sheriff’s Office fleet facility in Nokomis and refinancing of previously issued bonds

A graphic shows the segments of the North Extension of The Legacy Trail. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Sarasota County’s general obligation bonds, issued for The Legacy Trail project, recently earned an AAA rating from S&P Global Rating and Fitch Ratings, the county announced on April 17.

Those ratings reflect “the county’s continued financial stability and pragmatic practices,” a news release points out. “The [general obligation] bonds will be the first of two expected issuances to fund the extension of the Legacy Trail,” the release adds.

On Nov. 6, 2018, more than 70% of the county’s voters who cast ballots on the question approved the issuance of up to $65 million in bonds to create the extension of The Legacy Trail from Palmer Ranch to Payne Park in downtown Sarasota. The bonds also will pay for the Trail to connect to North Port through Venice, county staff has stressed.

The S&P Global Rating AAA rating on the general obligation bonds reflects the “county’s very strong economy, management, liquidity, budgetary perforce and strong institutional framework,” according to an S&P release.

“These latest ratings are yet another positive sign of the financial health of Sarasota County as an organization and as a community,” said Sarasota County Administrator Jonathan Lewis in the county news 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.”

S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings also issued AA+ ratings for capital improvement revenue bonds, which will pay for the Sheriff’s Support Services Facility in Nokomis and the refinancing of previously issued bonds, the release adds. (See the related article in this issue of The Sarasota News Leader.)