About San Diego County


In 2018, San Diego  County  received a GFOA Award for Excellence for exemplary use of GFOA's Best Practice for:

San Diego County is the 5th largest County in the nation covering 4,261 square miles, approximately the size of the state of Connecticut. It is the southernmost major metropolitan area in the State. The County's is home to 3.3 million residents making it is the second largest county by population in California and the fifth largest in the nation.

The County is governed by a five member Board of Supervisors. The region includes the largest concentration of military in the world, making the military presence an important driver of the region's economy. In addition, San Diego is a thriving hub for the life sciences/biomedical and technology-oriented industries and a popular travel destination.

San Diego County takes a long-term approach to aligning and matching assets to growing liabilities by strategically increasing its fund balance. In the 2000s, the county’s UAAL was $1.2 billion, OPEB was $1.8 billion, and estimated capital needs was $1 billion – significant liabilities that had to be addressed incrementally. The county took a short- and long-term approach to liabilities, and it also codified management practices.

The county implemented several GFOA best practices, on achieving a structurally balanced budget, creating sustainable benefit tiers, improving multiyear capital planning, adopting financial policies, and more. Following these new practices, the county prepaid $422.1 million in retirement-related costs since 2006, avoided $1.2 billion in OPEB costs, and avoided $1 billion in financing costs by paying cash for capital improvements.

Today, San Diego County has AAA ratings from Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch Ratings. This wasn’t the goal of the strategy, but the strategy clearly demonstrated the credit strength of the county, as evidenced by the two rating upgrades the county received since the strategy was deployed.

Tools and Resources: San Diego County, CA

Award for Excellence: San Diego County, CA 

For more information, please visit San Diego County's Website