Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said it raised its rating on Ellsworth County, Kan.'s outstanding general obligation debt to AA-minus from A-plus, based on the application of our new local GO criteria.

The outlook is stable.

The city's ad valorem tax pledge secures the existing GO debt.

"The rating reflects our assessment of the county's very strong budgetary flexibility and liquidity," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Emmanuelle Lawrence.

The stable outlook reflects Ellsworth County's overall credit profile.

"We do not expect to revise the rating over the next two years because we believe the county's management team will maintain the city's existing financial position," said Emmanuelle Lawrence. However, it could lower the rating if the county experiences a significant decline in its budgetary performance, which also results in a reduction of the flexibility score—which the rater does not expect. Deterioration to the county's economic base could yield negative rating implications. Precluding a stronger rating would be the weak economy and adequate management conditions.

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