--9.1 million GO bonds series 2012 at 'AAA'.
Fitch Ratings has withdrawn its ratings for the following
--General Obligation bonds series 2006 (all maturities).
The Rating Outlook is Stable.
The bonds constitute general obligations of the city, to which its full faith and credit and unlimited taxing authority are pledged.
KEY RATING DRIVERS
STRONG FINANCIAL PROFILE: Financial management is sound, budgeting practices are conservative, and reserve levels are consistently healthy. Financial flexibility is ample.
REGIONAL ECONOMIC ANCHOR: The city sits at the core of an employment and economic center serving a nine-county area along
MANAGEABLE DEBT POSITION: Debt levels are average, existing debt is rapidly repaid, and future capital needs and issuance plans are reasonable and should not stress financial flexibility.
RATING STABILITY EXPECTED: The rating is sensitive to fundamental shifts in various credit characteristics, including the city's strong financial management practices. The Stable Rating Outlook reflects Fitch's expectation that these shifts are unlikely.
The city serves as the regional retail and commercial hub, driven by its strategic location between
MANUFACTURING STILL AN IMPORTANT ECONOMIC DRIVER
Manufacturing remains an important component of the local economy, accounting for approximately 15% of
CONSISTENT TAXABLE VALUE GROWTH
Assessed values have proven resilient and did not contract materially post-recession. Taxable assessed value (TAV) remained flat in fiscal 2012 but improved in fiscal 2013 by 2.3% and was up another 2.4% in fiscal 2014. Management projects TAV to gain another 2.0% in fiscal 2015 and to maintain a modest growth trend over the near term, which Fitch believes is reasonable given the current economic activity. The stable and positive tax base performance is a favorable credit characteristic as property taxes are the most significant source of general fund revenue at 45%.
FINANCIAL PROFILE MARKED BY HIGH RESERVES, GOOD BUDGETARY FLEXIBILITY
The city's financial resources are healthy, following surplus results for the past five consecutive years. Reserve levels have historically been in excess of the city's prudent fund balance policy to maintain an unassigned general fund balance equal to no less than 20% of the following fiscal year budget. Unaudited fiscal 2014 results show a general fund net operating surplus after transfers of
The fiscal 2015 proposed budget includes a 4 mill tax increase, a 4.68% increase over the prior year's rate, and is the first increase in over fifteen years. State law imposes a limitation on the millage levied for operational purposes to growth in the CPI and population, and the city will carry over 7.73% in unused rate increase into the next fiscal year, providing significant flexibility if needed. The limitation may also be overridden in certain circumstances by vote of the city's governing body.
The fiscal 2015 budget contains
The budget also includes a projected
MODERATE DEBT BURDEN AND OTHER LONG-TERM LIABILITIES
Overall debt levels of the city are average at
General city employees and police officers participate in state-administered plans and firefighters in a city-administered plan. The city fully funds its pension obligation to both state plans. In fiscal 2015, contributions to the South Carolina Retirement System (SCRS) will increase from 10.6% to 10.9% of payroll while contributions to the Police Officers Retirement System (PORS) will increase from 12.84% to 13.41%. The combined impact of these two rate adjustments on the employer contribution totals about
Annual contributions to the city's fire department pension plan consistently exceed the annual required contribution (ARC), and the most recent funded ratio remains satisfactory at 83%. The city continues to fully fund the ARC for other post-employment benefits (OPEB), and carrying costs inclusive of all debt, pension, and OPEB costs make up a low 14.75% of fiscal 2013 governmental fund spending.
Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'.
In addition to the sources of information identified in Fitch's Tax-Supported Rating Criteria, this action was additionally informed by information from Creditscope,
--'Tax-Supported Rating Criteria' (
--'U.S. Local Government Tax-Supported Rating Criteria' (
Tax-Supported Rating Criteria
U.S. Local Government Tax-Supported Rating Criteria
Source: Fitch Ratings
Most Popular Stories
- Neighbor Warns Chris Brown to Stay Off His Property
- Venezuelan Officials Banned From Traveling in U.S.
- Hispanic Arts Leaders Unite Across the Border
- Adrienne Bailon Disses Ex-Lover Rob Kardashian
- NSHMBA Names Lincoln as Automotive Partner
- Hiring on the Rise at Small Businesses
- Islamic State Fights for Control of Syrian Oil Wealth
- Jerry Brown Favors More Shelters for Immigrant Kids
- How to Fit Green Energy Into Your Portfolio
- 3.4 Million Now Insured Under Covered California