Standard & Poor's on Thursday raised its rating of the city's long-term debt to AA from AA-. The last increase from S&P was in 2009, when the city's rating was elevated from an A+.
The upgrade comes just months after
The city next week expects to issue almost
"The U.S. government is a AA+," said Deputy City Manager
But analysts said the city's budget management and performance have been very strong, especially in regards to financial flexibility. The city has plenty of available cash reserves, and its debt service and management are solid.
Debt service accounts for about 5.3 percent of expenditures from government funds, and net direct debt is less than 54 percent of total government funds revenue, analysts said.
The city in recent years took a series of actions to stabilize its general fund budget, including staff reductions and hiring freezes.
This year, the city asked voters to make the final 0.5 percent of its 2.25 percent income tax permanent, which they approved, ensuring the city would continue to receive about
City commissioners also approved a street lighting assessment, which is expected to generate
"One of the things we've done is make the budgetary adjustments -- sometimes reductions, sometimes changes -- to make sure we're always operating within our revenues and maintained adequate reserves to protect ourselves from shocks," Earley said.
Moody's in 2010 increased
"The upgrade from S&P along with the retained AA rating from Moody's is a huge achievement for the city of
S&P's upgrade comes as the city prepares to issue a little less than
The bonds also will help finance the widening of
The higher grade will reduce how much the city has to pay to service the debt, Earley said.
"It could save us a few thousand dollars or it could save us a couple hundred thousand dollars," he said. "Given the environment, where a lot of cities saw a downgrade this year, this was a particularly positive statement."
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