One of the defining differences between the County of San Diego and
most government bodies is our credit rating. While others have
difficulty passing a budget, let alone balancing it; the County of San
Diego remains financially strong.
The latest round of credit ratings reaffirmed the fiscal stability
of the County and its pension obligation bonds. Fitch, Moody’s and
Standard & Poor’s assigned the County of San Diego credit ratings
that rank among the highest in California. In fact, Standard &
Poors has just upgraded the County’s underlying rating to AAA. That is
the highest rating on their scale.
Once again, I congratulate our County team that includes Chief
Administrative Officer Walt Ekard, our financial wizard Don Steuer and
County Treasurer and Tax Collector Dan McAllister.
One example of the benefits of excellent credit is the planned
issuance of taxable Pension Obligation Bonds, Series 2008A (POBs).
They will be used to refund a portion of the County’s 2002 POB debt
originally issued at Auction Rates Securities. The refunding will
result in about $200 million in interest savings for taxpayers over
the life of the debt.
Chances are, this was not included in local television newscasts or
newspapers, but it should have been.
The Road through Pauma
This summer, the Pauma Band of Luiseno Mission Indians reached
agreement with the County of San Diego to pay for $38 million in road
improvements along State Route 76 and Pauma Reservation Road.
The tribe will also pay $400,000 a year for sheriff’s protection,
$40,000 for the cost of prosecuting casino-related crimes and $200,000
for gambling addiction treatment.
The agreement also includes the tribe’s commitment to form its own
professional fire department with two new engines and provide an
additional fire truck to Cal Fire.
Part of the agreement involved scaled-back plans for the tribe’s
Casino Pauma including cutting the number of floors in a planned hotel
to 19 from 23, reducing the size of the casino floor and eliminating
an outdoor amphitheater.
On August 6, the Board of Supervisors gave unanimous approval to the
I appreciate the spirit of cooperation between the County and tribal
leaders led by Chairman Chris Devers.