6 things you should know


County Executive Office

Tran 2014

6 things you should know about Napa County's finances and budgetNumbers

1. Napa County has one of the highest bond ratings among California counties.

Since April 2009, Napa County has an AA+ bond rating from Standard & Poor's ("Very strong capacity to meet financial commitments") Find out more about bond ratings

2. The Board of Supervisors has a longstanding history of conservative fiscal practices.

Saving one-time windfalls instead of spending them. Not backfilling State shortages with local taxpayer money. No new programs unless they have a dedicated funding stream. Find out more about the Board's budget policies  

3. Napa County has healthy reserves, and policies in place on how to use them.

The FY2011-2012 budget outlines $49.6 million in contingencies and reserves. Board policy is to appropriate at least 3% of the General Fund for contingencies; at least 10% in General Reserves; and at least 10% in a designation for fiscal uncertainties. Find out more about Napa County's reserves.

4. We use performance measures as part of the budget process.

Department heads are asked to outline what services they are providing to whom and at what cost, along with output and outcome measures. See the latest performance measurement book.

5. The Board uses periodic 5-year forecasts, fiscal status reports, a Fiscal Contingency Plan and a Strategic Financial Plan to adhere to financial goals in a transparent way.

Napa County is doing well financially because of careful planning. You can read the recent forecasts, reports and Plans on our Budget and Financial Information page.

6. You can review Napa County's current and past budgets and other financial documents online, at the County administration building or at any of the 4 Napa City-County libraries.

The online versions are bookmarked pdfs. The hard copies include three volumes: The adopted budget, the detail budget and the performance measures.


More about bond ratings

From Standard & Poor's website:

"Credit ratings are opinions about credit risk. Standard & Poor’s ratings express the agency’s opinion about the ability and willingness of an issuer, such as a corporation or state or city government, to meet its financial obligations in full and on time.Typically, ratings are expressed as letter grades that range from ‘AAA’ to ‘D’ to communicate the agency’s opinion of relative level of credit risk.

Credit ratings may play a useful role in enabling corporations and governments to raise money in the capital markets. Instead of taking a loan from a bank, these entities sometimes borrow money directly from investors by issuing bonds or notes. Investors purchase these debt securities, such as municipal bonds, expecting to receive interest plus the return of their principal, either when the bond matures or as periodic payments.As a general rule, the more creditworthy an issuer or an issue is, the lower the interest rate the issuer would typically have to pay to attract investors."

So Napa County's AA bond rating means that we can raise funds for capital projects or other large, longterm needs at a better interest rate than local governments with lower ratings.

Why the good rating?

From a media release and news story: "In upgrading the rating, S&P cites Napa County’s strong wine- and tourism-based economy, very high land values, 'extremely strong wealth indicators' and low unemployment. Another factor contributing to the upgrade, according to S&P, is the County’s 'strong financial performance” and its large reserves.'"Find out more at the Standard & Poor's website