Sarasota County maintains AA+ bond ratings from Fitch Ratings, S&P Global Ratings, with new bond assignments

Latest bonds to help pay for Regional Fire Training Academy

The Sarasota County Administration Center stands at 1660 Ringling Blvd. in downtown Sarasota. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Fitch Ratings (Fitch) and S&P Global Ratings (S&P) have assigned AA+ ratings for Sarasota County’s Capital Improvement Revenue Bonds (CIRB) series 2024C, the county has announced.

Fitch and S&P also have affirmed the county’s outstanding CIRBs at AA+, a news release notes.

Proceeds from the approximately $26 million in the latest bonds will fund portions of Sarasota County’s new Regional Fire Training Facility, the release explains. The Academy “will serve as Sarasota County’s main training facility,” replacing four locations spread throughout the county, the release adds.

“We are excited for this project and are dedicated to training firefighters to protect our community and provide a high level of service to our residents and visitors,” said Emergency Services Department Director Rich Collins in the release. “We hope the training facility will become a destination training site for fire rescue agencies across the state,” he added.

The 32-acre complex will consist of “classrooms, associated outbuildings and training props to assist in the training and preparedness of first responders,” the release explains. “The facility will prepare trainees with physical skills, muscle memory and experience with simulation fire training exercises.”

County Administrator Jonathan Lewis pointed out that the latest bond ratings “continue to demonstrate Sarasota County’s commitment and ability to successfully generate revenue and manage finances responsibly as stewards of taxpayer dollars while planning for the future of the county,” as the release put it.

“The county is doing an excellent job in maintaining its high bond ratings, resulting in lower interest rates,” said Lewis in the release. “These ratings will allow us to move forward with critical projects, like the fire training facility, helping provide infrastructure to better serve our community.”

“Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings reports determine Sarasota County’s perceived worthiness for investing, similar to an individual’s credit score,” the release explains. “Higher bond ratings are typically accompanied by a lower interest rate,” it adds. The AA+ ratings “indicate Sarasota County is paying off current debt, is likely to pay off future debt and is a lower risk to investors,” the release points out.

According to Fitch in a recent media release, “The CIRB’s ‘AA+’ rating reflects the sustained strong pledged revenue growth prospects and the structure’s solid resilience in the context of historical revenue declines and Fitch’s moderate economic decline scenario.”

S&P indicated that its rating is supported by the following credit factors, the release notes:

  • “Broad and diverse taxing base, with wealth and income levels above the national average and steady population growth.
  • “Pledged revenues that rebounded quickly following the pandemic and that continue to show good growth.
  • “General creditworthiness, which supports and does not constrain the characteristics of the county’s sales tax revenue bond features.”

“Sarasota County’s independent legal revenue-raising authority, solid expenditure control and conservative budgeting practices provide the county with a considerable ability to maintain a high level of financial flexibility throughout economic cycles,” the release points out.

Sarasota County generally issues revenue bonds to help fund capital projects, the release adds.

To view a complete analysis of the county’s bond ratings, visit or

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