Sarasota County maintains AAA, AA+ bond ratings

Fitch and S&P both offer stable outlook for county finances

Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings have assigned AA+ ratings for Sarasota County’s 2023 Capital Projects Improvement Revenue Series 2023A bonds, affirmed AA+ ratings on all Capital Improvement bonds, and reaffirmed the AAA rating for the county’s General Obligation (GO) bonds, county staff announced this week.

Proceeds from the approximately $24.3-million Capital Projects Improvement Revenue Series 2023A bonds will fund portions of the new Sarasota County Mosquito Management Service facility and the new Emergency Services Administration building, a county news release explains.

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

“We are very pleased with the AA+ and AAA bond ratings,” Lewis said in the release. “The Capital Project Improvement Revenue Series 2023A bond is expected to close in June and will help both administration projects move forward,” he added.  

Steve Botelho, deputy county administrator and chief financial management officer, noted in the release that the county continues to maintain a conservative budget and perform strongly with debt servicing.  

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

Fitch Ratings said that the AA+ rating on the capital improvements bonds reflects the strong growth prospects for pledged revenues and continued ability to meet debt service, the release continues. “In addition, Fitch’s rating notes the county’s ‘superior gap-closing and low long-term liability burden,’ highlighting the county’s ability to maintain a high level of financial flexibility,” the release points out.  

S&P Global Ratings indicated that its rating on the capital projects improvement bonds is supported by the following credit factors, the release says:

  • “A broad and diverse taxing base, with wealth levels above the national average and steady population growth.
  • “Pledged revenues that rebounded quickly and surpassed pre-pandemic levels in 2021 and 2022 after experiencing a minor dip in coverage in 2020.
  • General credit-worthiness, “which supports and does not constrain the characteristics of Sarasota County’s sales tax revenue bond features.”

Sarasota County issues revenue bonds to help fund construction projects that its staff plans, the release explains. To view a complete analysis of the county’s utility system revenue bond ratings, visit Fitch Ratings or S&P Global Ratings.