Santa Fe County GO Rating Raised to ‘AAA’ by S&P Global Ratings, $12,985,000 Bonds Sold by Competitive Bid
Santa Fe County is pleased to announce that its bond rating was upgraded to AAA, the highest possible rating, this week by Standard and Poor’s Global Rating. The long-term rating was raised one notch to ‘AAA’ from ‘AA+’.
According to S&P Global, the county's strong financial management practices, anchored by a multilayered and robust reserve policy, were the foundation for the higher rating. The County has had strong budgetary performance, with consistently strong budget-to-actual variances. In addition, S&P expects the county’s economy will continue to demonstrate stability due to the influence of state and federal government operations, and that the county will maintain its strong fund balances. These credit strengths led to the upgrade to AAA.
“The County continues to maintain and improve favorable ratings due to solid financial operations and strong reserves. This high bond rating reduces the county’s cost of borrowing money, reducing overall costs associated with capital improvement projects,” stated County Manager Katherine Miller.
A government entity’s bond rating is much like an individual’s credit score. A bond rating reflects how much assurance a bondholder can have that the bonds will be repaid in full and on time. The upgrade to AAA is akin to a perfect credit score for Santa Fe County.
“It’s wonderful that the County’s conservative budgeting and financial management have been recognized by S&P. This achievement will greatly benefit County residents,” said County Finance Director Stephanie Schardin Clarke.
The County accepted competitive bids for the sale of its $12,985,000 in new general obligation bonds on October 23, 2018, and the winning bidder was Morgan Stanley. The County was able to sell these 17-year bonds at a true interest cost of 3.4%. This rate compares well to current market rates for similar credit quality and length of debt.
You can view a full report on our website at www.santafecountynm.gov/finance/bonds.