GO bond proceeds will be used to refund series 2005 GO bonds and lease revenue bond proceeds will be used to refund series 2005 lease revenue bonds for debt service savings. The bonds will sell via competitive sale the week of
In addition, Fitch upgrades approximately
Fitch also affirms the following ratings:
The Rating Outlook is Stable.
The GO bonds are secured by the county's pledge of its full faith and credit and its unlimited taxing power.
The 2014 lease revenue bonds are limited obligations of the
KEY RATING DRIVERS
SOUND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT:
FAVORABLE DEBT PROFILE: Overall debt levels should remain moderately low due to the county's limited capital needs, commitment to pay-as-you-go capital funding, and rapid amortization.
STABLE LOCAL ECONOMY: The local economy consists primarily of light manufacturing, services, and trade, the last reflecting the regional importance of tourism. Economic indicators are solid and unemployment is below average.
SERIES 2009/2012 ASSET ESSENTIALITY: The 'AA+' rating on the series 2012 and 2009 lease revenue bonds reflects the county's credit characteristics as well as appropriation risk. Lease provisions are solid and Fitch views the leased assets for these series as essential to county operations. Bondholders have a security interest in the leased assets.
2006 LEASE REVENUE BONDS UPGRADED: The upgrade of the series 2006 lease revenue bonds reflects the addition of school facilities, which Fitch views as essential, to the deed of trust increasing the collateral to par value to 100%.
2005/2014 RATING DISTINCTION: A rating of 'AA' for the series 2005 lease revenue bonds reflects the lack of a leasehold interest in any governmental facilities. An equivalent rating of 'AA' for the series 2014 bonds reflects bondholders' leasehold in a non-essential asset (stadium).
RATING STABILITY EXPECTED: The ratings are sensitive to fundamental shifts in various credit characteristics, including the county's strong financial management practices. The Stable Rating Outlook reflects Fitch's expectation that these shifts are unlikely.
STABLE ECONOMY WITHIN
The county's economy is stable and diverse. Recreation and accommodation account for approximately 20% of the employment base. This is mostly due to the American heritage tourist attractions such as
Taxable assessed value (TAV) declined 2.8% to
HIGH RESERVES, GOOD BUDGETARY FLEXIBILITY
The county's financial position is strong, characterized by ample reserve and liquidity levels and supported by strong financial management. Fiscal years 2010 through 2012 ended with net operating surpluses of 1.4% to 2.7% of spending followed by a modest (1.7% of spending) net operating deficit of
The county derives the majority of its revenue from property taxes. The county has maintained the current tax levy for the past eight years and has not increased the tax rate in over a decade affording additional revenue flexibility.
POSITIVE FY14 RESULTS ANTICIPATED
Preliminary fiscal 2014 results show a net operating surplus. Revenues are projected to outperform the budget by
BALANCED FISCAL 2015 BUDGET
The fiscal 2015 adopted budget is balanced without a general fund balance appropriation and is 2.2% higher year-over-year. The property tax rate remains unchanged at a competitive rate of
The budget funds an increased allocation to
AFFORDABLE DEBT PROFILE
Fitch expects overall debt levels to remain moderately low given the county's comprehensive planning and debt affordability guidelines. Overall debt equals
The county's approximately
The county provides pension benefits via the state-wide
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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