S&P affirms credit ratings for Sarasota County

County maintains ‘AAA’ general obligation rating

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

S&P Global Ratings, one of the world’s leading providers of credit ratings, has affirmed one series of Sarasota County’s bonds, along with the county’s general credit rating of “AAA,” the New York City-based firm has announced.

“The affirmations reflect Sarasota County’s strong financial management practices and policies, and stable economic outlook, according to S&P,” a news release says. “Those polices could also assist during a period of economic volatility or statewide fiscal pressures,” the release adds.

“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 release. “The independent ratings agency has affirmed what we already know about the county’s sound financial operations and the prudent actions of our county commission,” he added in the release.

S&P Global Ratings announced last week that it had affirmed the “AA+” ratings for the county’s capital improvement revenue bonds (series 2010A, 2010B, 2017, 2018A and 2018B issues); “AA” ratings for the county’s infrastructure sales surtax revenue bonds (series 2014, 2015 and 2018 issues); and “AA-” ratings for the county’s communication services tax revenue bonds (series 2010, 2014 and 2015 issues), the release explains.

This is in addition to the S&P’s decision to raise its rating to “AAA” from “AA+” on Sarasota County’s limited ad valorem tax bond (series 2005) and affirming the county’s “AAA” general obligation rating, the release points out.

Ratings of the capital improvement, infrastructure and communication services bonds reflected “the strengths exhibited by Sarasota County’s growing, broad and diverse economy,” the S&P release notes.

In its formal announcement, S&P Global Ratings wrote that Sarasota County “is also robust in its capital planning as it maintains a rolling five-year capital improvement plan with identified funding sources and a multiyear budget forecast. It also maintains several policies in the areas of debt and investment management and a fund balance reserve policy that sustains a budget stabilization reserve of 30 to 60 days of general fund expenditures and a contingency reserve at 75 days of expenditures.”