Neither the Florida Constitution, Florida Statutes, nor the Board of County Commissioners place a limit on the amount of debt the voters may approve by referendum. However, as a practical matter, debt is limited by the availability of revenue streams to pay debt service, by market factors, and by Board/voter discretion.
In concert with the County Administrator and the County Finance Team, and to facilitate better short‐term decisions, the Office of Management and Budget creates an annual debt schedule to the Board, which lists current debt and projects debt requirements.
The County will not fund operations or normal maintenance from the proceeds of long‐term financing and will confine long‐term borrowing and capital leases to capital improvements, projects, or equipment that cannot be financed from current or projected financial resources. To conserve debt capacity as well as maintain a high bond rating the County will utilize pay‐as‐you‐go financing to the maximum extent possible.
Not withstanding extenuating circumstances, the County’s debt capacity will be maintained within the following generally accepted benchmarks:
Direct debt per capita shall remain below four hundred dollars($400.00). Direct debt includes general obligations and governmental fund bond debt
Direct debt per capita as a percentage of income per capita should not exceed 2%.
Direct debt as a percentage of the final assessment value of taxable property as provided by the Office of the Property Appraiser shall not exceed 1%.
The ratio of direct debt service expenditures as a percentage of general governmental expenditures will not exceed 10%. General governmental expenditures are considered General Fund expenditures, Fine and Forfeitures Fund expenditures plus transfers to the Constitutional Officers, the Airport, the Port and all transfers to Internal Service Funds.
The County strives to maintain a minimum underlying bond rating equivalent to ‘Upper Medium Grade’ (Moody Rating Service A or Standard & Poor’s A). The County shall request an evaluation of their underlying rating every five years or as deemed necessary by the Board.
The County shall strive to keep the average maturity of general obligation bonds at or below fifteen (15) years.
When financing capital projects or equipment by issuing bonds, the County will amortize the debt over a term not to exceed the useful life of the project or piece of equipment.
Each year the County will review its outstanding debt for the purpose of determining the feasibility of refunding an issue.
To the maximum extent possible, the County will use special assessment (i.e. Municipal Services Benefit Unit) or self‐supporting bonds (i.e. Revenue Bonds) in lieu of general obligation bonds so that those benefiting from the improvements will absorb all or part of the project costs.