Standard & Poor's revised its outlook to positive from stable on Orange County's AA general obligation credit rating Tuesday based on continuing improvement in the county's financial position.

The county has a stable and diverse tax base anchored in education and health care services and a strong financial position with a low debt burden and manageable future needs, said analyst Henry Henderson.

The total fund balance was $31.4 million, or 18.7% of expenditures, and "very liquid" with $28.1 million of cash at the end of fiscal 2010, Henderson said. The county projects a surplus of between $2 million and $3 million in fiscal 2011.

The positive outlook and a AA rating were assigned to a $50 million limited obligation refunding, which the county plans to bring to market. No details about the offering were immediately available.

Standard & Poor's affirmed its AA-plus rating on the county's GOs.

Orange County is located in the north central part of the state and is included in the Raleigh-Durham metropolitan statistical area.

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