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County's 2011 Waterfront Park Debt Earns High Ratings

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July 25, 2011

Three national credit rating agencies rated the County of San Diego’s debt issuance for its County Administration Center Waterfront Park project among the highest, citing the County’s continued strong fiscal discipline and financial management. Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings rated the County’s upcoming Certificates of Participation sale “Aa3”, “AA+” and “AA+,” respectively. 

In addition, all three rating agencies affirmed the County’s “Stable” outlook, indicating stability in the County’s financial trends is anticipated. Of particular note, S&P states, “We believe the County has a history of conservative budgeting. In our opinion, expenditure controls have helped maintain positive financial operations…” Fitch states, “The County's general fund financial trend remains stable, with healthy general fund balances and reserves, the result of strong, institutionalized management policies and practices (including disciplined pension funding and effective actions to limit retiree pension and healthcare costs).”

These ratings reflect independent evaluation that the County remains financially strong due to its proven conservative fiscal management, stable revenue base and diversified economy. The County’s continued success at controlling costs and its considerable financial flexibility underlie these strengths. 

“These ratings signal strength and confidence in the County’s ongoing ability to prudently manage taxpayer resources through tough times, thanks to the leadership of the Board of Supervisors,” said Chief Administrative Officer Walt Ekard.

Approximately $32 million of Certificates of Participation for the County Administration Center Waterfront Park project (2011 COPs) will be sold to finance the acquisition, construction and installation of a waterfront park and related facilities located on land adjacent to the County Administration Center, located at 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego, 92101. The County will make a cash contribution to the project of approximately $14 million. In conjunction with the project, but not included in the 2011 COPs, County-owned property located at the corner of Cedar Street and Kettner Boulevard in downtown San Diego will be developed to provide 750 parking spaces for County use. 

The 2011 COPs will be exempt from both federal and State of California income taxes. A special opportunity is expected to be offered to California residents to place orders for the bonds in advance on Tuesday, July 26, 2011. The sale is expected to be completed the following day on Wednesday, July 27, 2011. Bank of America Merrill Lynch will serve as the lead underwriter for the bond sale with Wedbush Securities serving as the co-manager.