Standard & Poor’s raised its underlying rating on Pinal County’s $101 million of outstanding certificates of participation one notch to A from A-minus due to continued economic growth and diversification and maintenance of a strong financial position with strong reserves. The outlook is stable.

Credit analyst Tim Barrett said the rating reflects the county’s general creditworthiness.

“It is our belief that Pinal County officials will maintain good financial operations and a manageable debt profile despite robust population growth, which should continue to expand and diversify the economic base,” Barrett said.

Assessed valuation in the county, which is located between Phoenix and Tucson, has increased by an average of roughly 25% annually over the past five years. County assessed value for fiscal 2008 totals $1.9 billion, with full cash value totaling an estimated $14.0 billion.

The county’s COP debt has an unenhanced rating of A from Fitch Ratings. Moody’s Investors Service does not provide an unenhanced rating for Pinal County’s certificates of participation.

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