Fitch Ratings has assigned an ‘AA’ rating to Collier County’s proposed $94.7 million special obligation refunding revenue bonds, series 2011, along with a stable rating outlook. Bond proceeds will be used to advance refund a portion of the county’s outstanding capital improvement and refunding revenue bonds, series 2003 and 2005, and to pay the costs of issuance. In addition, Fitch determined that Collier County’s above-average credit profile is reflected in its history of sound financial management, demonstrated by generally consistent surplus results yielding a healthy unreserved fund balance.
“I am pleased about this latest outlook from Fitch Ratings. Their analysis shows the positive effects of our long-range financial plan and indicates investor confidence in Collier County continues to strengthen and grow,” said Corporate Financial and Management Services Director Mark Isackson. “The Fitch rating is an affirmation of our prudent budgeting practices and financial planning. We will continue to demonstrate fiscal responsibility and maintain a balanced, long-term focus on our county’s financial challenges.”
Another factor in the assignment of an ‘AA’ rating for the special obligation refunding revenue bonds is the county’s manageable debt position. According to Fitch, the county’s debt burden and future capital needs are manageable, as are the county’s pension and other post-employment benefits liabilities.
Fitch considers the county’s aggressive response to reduce spending favorably, and notes that the fiscal 2012 budget does not result in a reduction of primary programs or services, facility closures, or planned layoffs or furloughs. Given the county’s conservative revenue approach, the ability to continue to balance the budget largely through additional expenditure actions will play a vital role in determining future financial stability.
The complete Fitch report is available here: www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/press_releases/detail.cfm?pr_id=736408
For more information, contact Mark Isackson at 252-8383 or Derek Johnssen at 252-7863.