The credit rating of the County of Los Angeles was boosted by Standard & Poors Ratings Services to AA from AA-, the county's chief executive officer announced Tuesday.
S&P cited the county's strong general fund reserves and issued a stable outlook due both to those funds and a "large, deep and diverse economic base," according to Chief Executive Officer William Fujioka.
The ratings upgrade means that the county can expect to pay less when borrowing money to finance capital projects and long-term operations. The agency also raised the county's long-term rating on appropriation-backed debt from A+ to AA- and gave the AA- rating to its 2012 public works lease revenue bonds.
Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings are expected to affirm their existing ratings on the county shortly, according to Fujioka.
"Many government agencies have faced downgrades in their ratings recently," said Fujioka, who said staffers had been working with the agencies to improve the rating for two years.
The "upgrade announcement represents a major success for Los Angeles County that very few cities or counties have achieved," he said.
Fujioka appeared before the board today to seek approval for several final adjustments to the current fiscal year budget and for the authority to issue up to $400 million in lease revenue bonds to finance new outpatient medical care facilities at Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Center and the High Desert Health Center, four fire stations and other capital projects.
"These strong ratings are attributed to the leadership of our Board of Supervisors and the fiscal stewardship of countless county managers operating on the front lines in a difficult economic environment," Fujioka said. "Our board has sustained a policy of living within our means, which has reduced our borrowing costs and yielded tremendous savings to the benefit of county taxpayers."