Marlene Feist, Utilities Communications Manager, No Phone Number Available
Friday, January 9, 2015 at 10:43 a.m.
The two major bond-rating agencies this week confirmed high ratings for the City of Spokane, as the City prepares to sell bonds for the rehabilitation of Riverfront Park and refinance other bonds to gain savings for integrated street work. The City will sell both sets of bonds later this month.
Standard & Poor's (S&P) confirmed the City's “AA” rating for both bond sales, while Moody's provided an equivalent rating of “AA2” for the Parks issue and an “AA3” rating for the street bond refinancing.
“These are strong ratings that will help attract investors and assure lower interest rates for our bonds,” says the City's Chief Financial Officer Gavin Cooley. “That means we'll carry out the wishes of voters in a more cost-effective way.”
In November, City voters overwhelmingly approved a $60 million investment in Riverfront Park and a new funding strategy for streets that requires the City to refinance existing bonds to take advantage of lower interest rates and other savings. More information on those measures.
Among other things, the rating agencies cited the City's strong financial management, budget flexibility, and liquidity as strengths. They also said that Spokane's local economy is broad, diverse, and stable, although median household income remains below average.
“Spokane's financial position remains overall healthy and is supported by sound management,” said Moody's in its recently released report (PDF 129 KB).
“Strengths, in our opinion, include long-term financial and capital plans, an investment management policy, and historically adhered-to reserve policies,” wrote S&P. Report by S&P (PDF 290 KB).
The ratings and accompanying reports underscore the work the City has undertaken to be even more financially stable. In recent years, the City has worked to align operating budgets so they're more affordable, tackled big issues like adequate pension funding, and developed an comprehensive six-year plan for capital investments citywide with realistic funding plans.