Pasco County Administrator Dan Biles gave a briefing on the county’s current rating to the Pasco County Commission at its meeting on Sept. 21.
“Both Fitch and Moody’s did a new credit rating on the county, as part of its bond offering that’s going out shortly,” Biles said.
Both of the ratings held constant, with Moody’s giving the county’s an Aa2 rating and Fitch giving the county an AA/Stable rating, Biles said.
“Fitch’s rating included a stable outlook, which puts the county in a very low credit-risk category,” Biles said. “Keep in mind that we’re right in the middle of a pandemic. Local governments and state governments across this country have had significant financial distress.”
The county administrator added: “Our unemployment rate in Pasco County is down to 6.7%, which I’m not sure I was expecting to see that number until after the turn of the calendar. Not only that, when you actually dig into the numbers, 10,000 more people are working in August than were working in July. That’s a pretty substantial number. Still a little less than where we were last August, but getting there and getting there pretty fast. That’s good for Pasco County. That’s consistent across the Tampa Bay region. Those kinds of numbers.
“That puts us in a pretty stable and secure position,” he said.
After an afternoon recess, commissioners came back at 5:15 p.m., to hold the final public hearing on the county’s $1.5 billion budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
No one spoke during the public comment portion of the hearing, and the board adopted the budget without discussion. The board had discussed budget issues at previous meetings and workshops.
The new budget takes effect Oct. 1.
Some highlights of the budget include a 3% raise for county employees and increased spending for the county’s library system, and its parks and recreation department.
Many initiatives the county had been considering for next year, however, were not brought forward because of negative economic impacts from COVID-19.
In other action, commissioners:
- Approved a request to allow the Zephyrhills Volunteer Fire-Rescue Squad to operate as a support services entity in Zephyrhills. The fire department in Zephyrhills is merging with Pasco County Fire Rescue.
- Approved a resolution proclaiming Sept. 25 as Disabled American Veterans Day, celebrating the DAV’s 100th anniversary, and recognizing the organization for its assistance to service-disabled veterans, and their families and survivors.
Published September 30, 2020