By Steven Tavares.
Global credit rating behemoths Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service boosted Alameda County to the highest possible municipal bond score Monday.
Fitch upgraded Alameda County to “AAA,” while Moody’s posted an “Aaa” rating.
Alameda County’s consistent operating surpluses and overall strong local economy, along with “management’s progressive actions to address its long-term liabilities” earned it the top rating.
Both credit rating services labeled the county’s finances as stable.
A municipality’s sterling credit allows it to borrow at lower interest rates, therefore saving taxpayers’ money.
Since the end of the Great Recession, Alameda County has balanced its budget, sometimes featuring staggeringly high deficits, without wholesale cuts to staff or county safety net services.
Reductions to the county’s debt were also cited by the credit rating services, including the county’s move to designate increases in reserves to help pay down pension liabilities.
The Alameda Health System’s improved bottom line and beneficial status of the county’s nearly $200 million loan to the health provider also impressed the rating services.