--Implied general obligation (GO) rating to 'AA' from 'AA-'.
The Rating Outlook is Stable.
The bonds are limited obligations of the
KEY RATING DRIVERS
SOUND FINANCIAL POSITION: The upgrade of the implied GO to 'AA' recognizes the county's conservative budgeting practices, consistently positive operating results, and maintenance of high financial reserves.
SOMEWHAT LIMITED ECONOMY: The county serves largely as a bedroom community for commuters to
AFFORDABLE DEBT RATIOS: Fitch expects the debt burden to remain low due to limited capital needs coupled with pay-as-you-go capital funding. The county's modest debt burden is inclusive of a small amount of utility debt as the fund is not self-supporting.
APPROPRIATION RISK AND ESSENTIAL ASSETS: The 'AA-' rating on the lease revenue bonds reflects the county's GO credit characteristics as well as the essentiality of the leased assets and adequate legal provisions.
STABLE CREDIT FUNDAMENTALS: The rating is sensitive to shifts in fundamental credit characteristics, including the county's strong financial management practices. The Stable Outlook reflects Fitch's expectation that such shifts are unlikely.
PRUDENT FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
The majority of general fund revenues come from property taxes (65.7% in fiscal 2013). The tax rate remains competitive and is not subject to any limitations. General fund expenditures increased by 9.2% in fiscal 2013, primarily as a result of a 2% salary increase for county and school employees and increased local funding towards schools to make up for a decrease in federal funding. Education and public safety are the county's primary general fund expenditures accounting for 61.7% of spending after transfers in fiscal 2013.
POSITIVE OPERATIONS ANTICIPATED FOR FISCAL 2014
The fiscal 2014 budget was adopted with no tax rate increase, and a
BALANCED FISCAL 2015 BUDGET
The fiscal 2015 budget is balanced with no tax rate increase and a
The general fund continues to provide support for the utility fund. The county included a
FAVORABLE DEBT PROFILE
The proposed fiscal 2015-2019 capital improvement plan (CIP) totals
County employees participate in the statewide
Other post-employment benefits (OPEB) are offered to all county retirees as an implicit subsidy; school board retirees are partially subsidized. The unfunded actuarially accrued liability of
The county serves as a bedroom community to the
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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