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RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CALIF. LEASE REV. BONDS 'A+ (COND.)' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

 NEW YORK, Dec. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The County of Riverside (CA) Asset Leasing Corporation's $131.9 million Leasehold Revenue Bonds, 1993 Series A (County of Riverside Hospital Project) are rated A+ (Cond.)' by Fitch. The bonds will be sold through negotiation by a syndicate led by First Boston on or about Jan. 6. The conditional rating is based on the 14-month period before construction is expected to begin, and the legal ability to stop the project before building commences. The credit trend is stable.
 Bond proceeds will be used to refund $136.2 million of the county's 1989 bonds, which will be accomplished with a $17 million 1993 Series B issue that will be sold simultaneously. The Series B bonds have a Swiss Bank Corp. letter of credit, and are not rated by Fitch. The 1989 bonds were sold to finance construction of a replacement for Riverside General Hospital. Construction is expected to begin in March 1994, with an opening planned for April 1997.
 Riverside County's historically strong economic development has slowed, but continues despite economic weakness throughout the area. Employment opportunities and retail trade activity in the immediate area grew significantly through 1990, and recent declines in certain sectors have been partially offset by gains elsewhere. Riverside's housing costs remain very low for the area, and are one of its main attractions. The county is well positioned for future development, but healthy growth levels will have to await a regional recovery.
 The county's financial operations remain satisfactory, withstanding the current slowdown and uncertainty surrounding state assistance. Following four years of operating surpluses, the general fund ran a 2.2 percent operating deficit in fiscal 1991. The fund ran an operating surplus in fiscal 1992, but only after a distribution of excess pension fund earnings were included. Fund balance levels have been good, with fiscal 1992 total fund balance equalling nearly 7 percent of expenditures, and the unreserved and undesignated portion at over 5 percent. About 36 percent of all general fund operations, primarily social service spending, are funded by the state. Budgetary pressures will continue, given that state's fiscal problems, and the use of one- time solutions to avoid a shortfall.
 The county's debt ratios are moderate to high, reflecting growth- induced capital needs being met by both the county and numerous overlapping units. However, debt service expense relative to the county's operating budget remains affordable.
 -0- 12/30/92
 /CONTACT: Amy S. Doppelt of Fitch, 212-908-0514/


CO: County of Riverside Asset Leasing Corporation ST: California IN: FIN SU: RTG

TM -- NY052 -- 0751 12/30/92 17:57 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 30, 1992
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