Standard & Poor’s upgraded Ventura County’s underlying rating to AA from AA-minus ahead of a $95 million certificate of participation issue.
The move comes even as California counties face threatened severe cuts in state funding for social services provided at the county level.
Standard & Poor’s said Ventura County’s “large and growing property tax base and improved financial position in the past five years” merited a rating increase.
The county, which sits on the coast between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties, also benefits from “extremely strong wealth levels,” a strong financial position, and a low debt burden, Standard & Poor’s analyst Sussan Corson said in a report.
Ventura’s unreserved fund balance totaled a strong 13.6% of expenditures in fiscal 2008, she said. The county’s preliminary fiscal 2030 budget is balanced and projects reserves of 8%.
The county is susceptible to state aid cuts because the state provides 42% of its general revenues, but the rating agency said Ventura could manage the cuts.
“Officials indicate the county would offset any potential reductions in state aid to specific programs by reducing programs as they have historically,” Corson wrote.