News Column

Rating agencies reaffirm Norwalk's AAA credit in advance of $15M bond issuance

July 31, 2014

By Robert Koch, The Hour, Norwalk, Conn.



July 31--NORWALK -- The city's top-tier credit rating has been reaffirmed on the eve of an anticipated $15 million bond issuance to pay for major capital improvement projects throughout Norwalk.

"We're going to be selling bonds on Aug. 5 and because of the AAA ratings, we're going to expect to achieve the best interest rates that are available in the market for municipal bonds," said Thomas S. Hamilton, the city's director of finance. "We believe (the rate) is hopefully going to be better than the 2.95 percent we achieved last year, but we'll have to see because the market fluctuates day by day."

Hamilton said he received confirmation Wednesday afternoon that Moody's Investors Service reaffirmed Norwalk's AAA credit rating.

The city received similar reaffirmations earlier this week from FitchRatings, Inc., and Standard & Poor's -- the two other credit rating agencies that the city relies upon, according to Hamilton.

In its report, FitchRatings gave Norwalk a "stable" rating outlook and concluded that the city exhibited strong financial management, a sound economic profile, a low debt burden and manageable pension and other post-employment costs.

The $15 million bond sale will be used primarily to pay for projects in the city's 2014-15 capital budget. They include improvements to the Nathan Hale Middle School athletic fields, implementing Common Core Standards for the Board of Education and enhancing school security.

Money also will be used for renovations to Naramake and Rowayton Elementary schools as well as the city's annual road-paving program.

The credit reports come a week after Hamilton and other city officials met in Manhattan with representatives of the rating agencies to tout the city's fiscal health.

"One of the things they're impressed with is the fact that many of our (redevelopment) projects are in the ground within a year of (having) them approved," said Director of Planning and Zoning Michael G. Greene, who participated in the meeting in New York City.

Officials emphasize major redevelopment project as drivers of the city's Grand List.

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(c)2014 The Hour (Norwalk, Conn.)

Visit The Hour (Norwalk, Conn.) at www.thehour.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: Hour (Norwalk, CT)


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