Santa Ana, Calif. (September 22, 1999) – Moody’s Investors Service announced today that it has significantly raised the ratings on $1.5 billion of outstanding debt of Orange County. The County is now the second-highest rated county in California.
“I am delighted that Moody’s has recognized our sound fiscal management,” said Jan Mittermeier, County Executive Officer. “Through the Board’s leadership, the County has been restored to excellent financial health.”
According to Moody’s, the upgrades reflect the County’s demonstrated ability to operate within the reduced operating budget that resulted from its bankruptcy, its prudent fiscal management, its commitment to debt reduction, a satisfactory fiscal position by comparison with its peers, a diversified and thriving local economy, and a groundbreaking strategic financial plan.
“These significant upgrades in the County’s credit rating indicate how far the County has come since the bankruptcy,” said Chuck Smith, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “The Board and all County employees should be thrilled with the progress we’ve made,” said Smith.
“Moody’s action today signals their confidence in the fiscal health of the County,” said Tom Wilson, Vice Chairman of the Board of Supervisors.
Gary Burton, Chief Financial Officer, said today’s upgrade is “the most dramatic increase I have ever seen.”
Moody’s has assigned to the County an issuer (implied general obligation) rating of Aa3. The stand-alone and underlying ratings on the County’s Pension Obligation Bonds have been upgraded to A1 from Baa2; the underlying rating on the County’s 1995 Refunding Recovery Bonds has been upgraded to A1 from Baa3; the underlying rating on the County’s 1996 Refunding Recovery Certificates of Participation (COPs) has been upgraded to A2 from Baa2; the ratings on two pre-funded equipment financings and two fixed asset COPs have been upgraded to A2 from Baa3; and the County’s equipment lease financing has been upgraded to A3 from Ba1.
Ken Kurtz, Moody’s Investors Service 415-274-1737
Chuck Smith, Chairman, Board of Supervisors 714-834-3110
Tom Wilson, Vice Chairman, Board of Supervisors 714-834-3550
Jan Mittermeier, County Executive Officer 714-834-6201