Firms Raise, Lower County's Credit Rating

From Times Staff Reports

A New York firm has upgraded Ventura County government's credit worthiness from A to A+ for long-term bonds, auditor-controller Christine Cohen said Friday.

Standard & Poor's assigned the mark after reviewing the county's plan to issue $80 million in bond debt to pay for a variety of projects, including construction of a new juvenile justice center and upgrades to the Ventura County Medical Center.

A second Wall Street firm, however, maintained the county credit rating at A2. That is a notch lower than the A1 rating the county held until it experienced financial problems in 1999. In recent meetings, Moody's analysts indicated they wanted the county to continue rebuilding its reserves before it is awarded a higher mark, Cohen said.

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