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Sarasota County maintains AA+ bond ratings from Fitch Ratings, S&P Global Ratings with new bond assignments

Post Date:05/31/2024 10:46 AM

SARASOTA COUNTY - Fitch Ratings (Fitch) and S&P Global Ratings (S&P) assigned 'AA+' ratings for Sarasota County’s Capital Improvement Revenue Bonds (CIRB), series 2024C. Fitch and S&P affirmed the county’s outstanding CIRBs at ‘AA+’.

Proceeds from the approximate $26 million CIRB will fund portions of Sarasota County’s new Regional Fire Training Facility. The Regional Fire Training Academy will serve as Sarasota County’s main training facility, replacing four current locations spread throughout the county.

“We are excited for this project and are dedicated to training firefighters to protect our community and provide a high level of service to our residents and visitors. We hope the training facility will become a destination training site for fire rescue agencies across the state,” said Emergency Services Director Rich Collins. 

This 32-acre complex will consist of classrooms, associated outbuildings and training props to assist in the training and preparedness of first responders. The facility will prepare trainees with physical skills, muscle memory and experience with simulation fire training exercises.

According to Sarasota County Administrator Jonathan Lewis, these bond ratings continue to demonstrate Sarasota County’s commitment and ability to successfully generate revenue and manage finances responsibly as stewards of taxpayer dollars while planning for the future of the county.

“The County is doing an excellent job in maintaining its high bond ratings, resulting in lower interest rates,” said Lewis. “These ratings will allow us to move forward with critical projects, like the fire training facility, helping provide infrastructure to better serve our community.”

Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings reports determine Sarasota County’s perceived worthiness for investing, similar to an individual’s credit score. Higher bond ratings are typically accompanied by a lower interest rate. ‘AA+’ ratings indicate Sarasota County is paying off current debt, is likely to pay off future debt and is a lower risk to investors.

According to Fitch in a recent media release, “The CIRB's 'AA+' rating reflects the sustained strong pledged revenue growth prospects and the structure's solid resilience in the context of historical revenue declines and Fitch's moderate economic decline scenario.”

S&P indicated that their rating is supported by these credit factors:

  • Broad and diverse taxing base, with wealth and income levels above the national average and steady population growth.
  • Pledged revenues that rebounded quickly following the pandemic and that continue to show good growth.
  • General creditworthiness, which supports and does not constrain the characteristics of the county's sales tax revenue bond features.

Sarasota County’s independent legal revenue-raising authority, solid expenditure control and conservative budgeting practices provide the county with a considerable ability to maintain a high level of financial flexibility throughout economic cycles.

Sarasota County issues revenue bonds to help fund capital projects. To view a complete analysis of the county’s bond ratings, visit fitchratings.com or spglobal.com.

For more information, please call 311 or visit scgov.net.

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