County Receives Positive Credit Rating for Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013 


At March’s regular monthly commission meeting, Leo Valdez, financial advisor for Rio Arriba County (RAC), announced that the County’s credit rating was positive and that the outlook for the County’s future is secure.


“The County is doing quite well,” said Valdez. “It has and AA- grade, which is very good.”  According to Valdez, Standard and Poor’s Rating Services has a grading criteria of “AAA,” which is the highest assigned rating one can get to a “D,” which is the lowest rating one can receive.  


According to a Standard and Poor’s-issued credit profile, the County has very strong historical available general fund balances; very low overall net debt burden; and good management practices.


“We are very happy that our report reflected a great rating,” said County chairman Alfredo Montoya. “Our finance office keeps a very close eye on County spending and assures that we are fiscally responsible. We are proud to say that that responsibility has been proven and our taxpayers are able to feel confident in us.”


According to findings in the report, RAC’s general fund is above the state-mandated minimum of 25 percent of expenditures. The report states that in fiscal year 2012, the audited available unassigned general fund balance was $14.88 million. Seventy three percent of the County’s expenditures were for one-time capital projects. Other transfers included the County's roads, solid waste enterprise, and senior citizen program funds. Because officials have budgeted on a cash basis for additional capital expenditures and general fund transfers, as well as salary increases for fiscal year 2013, the report shows a predicted $5.5 million drawdown in fund balances. According to Valdez, the outlook for the County’s future is stable and there are not many predictions that the rating will change over the next few years.


The public can access the aforementioned report, which includes specific information regarding general fund revenue, General Obligation Bond (GO) debt, and County yearly retirement contributions, by visiting www.standardandpoors.com.


-Erika L. Martinez, March 2013