In addition, Fitch has affirmed the county's implied general obligation unlimited tax (GOULT) rating at 'AA'.
The Rating Outlook is Stable for all bonds.
The limited tax general obligation bonds (LTGO) are secured by the levy of a limited ad valorem tax not exceeding 0.2 mills against all taxable property within the county. Neither the full faith and credit nor the unlimited taxing authority of the county is pledged to bondholders.
The gas tax revenue bonds are secured by a pledge of the first
The tourist development tax (TDT) revenue bonds are secured by a pledge of a 3% countywide tax on hotel rooms, mobile homes, and other short-stay residences. The bonds are additionally secured by a surety-funded DSRF.
KEY RATING DRIVERS
IMPLIED GOULT RATING CONSIDERATIONS:
LTGO COVERAGE NARROW: Coverage of the LTGO bonds from the maximum millage rate pledged to bondholders is relatively narrow at an estimated 1.4x in fiscal 2014, reflecting the significant declines in the county's tax base in the recession.
SATISFACTORY TOURISM TAX COVERAGE: Pledged revenues have been stable over the prior two years with fiscal 2012 collections providing 1.56x coverage of MADS. Coverage levels are exposed to the volatile nature of discretionary travel and high degree of competition for tourism spending. No additional leveraging is anticipated.
GAS TAX REMAINS ADEQUATE: Gas tax revenue declines have been steady but more moderate compared to the TDT. Fiscal 2012 receipts provide coverage of 1.48x MADS. Gas tax revenues remain susceptible to economic factors in much the same way as the TDT, although the essential nature of the commodity tempers this risk.
TDT AND GAS TAX DILUTION: Existing coverage levels for the TDT and gas tax revenue stream do not support any meaningful amount of additional debt at the respective rating levels.
SATISFACTORY GENERAL FUND OPERATIONS
At the close of fiscal 2012 the general fund reported an unrestricted fund balance of
The fiscal 2013 general fund budget included no salary increase, no tax rate increase and was essentially balanced. Unaudited fiscal 2013 statements are not available, but officials expect better than budget results with an increase in total general fund balance of as much as
The adopted fiscal 2014 budget includes
AFTER STEEP DECLINE, TAX BASE SHOWS FIRST YEAR OF IMPROVEMENT
Property tax revenues account for 80% of general fund revenue and the taxbase declined, from peak to trough, a sizable 43.7% during the recession. The resultant declines in general fund revenues necessitated a combination of tax rate increase and workforce reductions. After six years of declines, taxable assessed values grew 2.4% in fiscal 2014 and are estimated by the county to increase 2.5% in fiscal 2015. The county's fiscal 2014 operating tax rate of 6.87 mills (a 6% rate increase) remains well within the statutory 10-mill cap, and is generally competitive when compared to other counties in the region. Total market value of real property was
STABILIZATION OF TAXBASE BENEFICIAL TO LTGO SECURITY
In fiscal 2012, the LTGO's pledged 0.2 mills generated
STILL SATISFACTORY COVERAGE FROM GAS AND TDT REVENUE
Pledged TDT revenues grew a favorable 6.9% in fiscal 2012 after being flat for the previous three fiscal periods. TDT revenue of
Gas tax revenue grew minimally in fiscal 2012 after an 8.9% peak to trough decline. Fiscal 2012 pledged revenues of
LOW DEBT AND MANAGEABLE CAPITAL NEEDS
Debt ratios remain very low on an overall basis, with
The county's most recent capital improvement plan (CIP) identifies a moderate
Long-term liabilities related to pension and other post-employment benefits (OPEB) are manageable. The county participates in the
Growth in sales taxes, hotel/motel taxes and gas taxes are all indicators of increasing activity in the tourism based economy. Airline traffic has seen strong growth, another indicator of positive tourism activity. The county is home to the
Unemployment in the county as of
The single largest employer within the county is the county school district (8,917). Other major employers include
Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'.
In addition to the sources of information identified in Fitch's Tax-Supported Rating Criteria, this action was additionally informed by information from Creditscope,
--'Tax-Supported Rating Criteria' (
--'U.S. Local Government Tax-Supported Rating Criteria' (
Tax-Supported Rating Criteria
U.S. Local Government Tax-Supported Rating Criteria
Source: Fitch Ratings
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