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Bond agencies hold Evanston rating steady

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Fitch Ratings and Moody's Investors Service have held the City of Evanston's bond rating steady at one notch below their top level.

The updated ratings come as the city prepares to issue nearly $12.6 million in additional general obligation debt later this month.

Both agencies had downgraded the city's bond rating from their top level last year.

Moody's report says the AA1 rating "reflects the city's declining but still sizeable tax base; economic stability provided by Northwestern University; satisfactory financial position; revenue raising ability afforded by the city's status as an Illinois home rule unit of local government; somewhat elevated debt burden; and sizable pension liabilities."

Fitch said its outlook for the city's financial situation was "stable" and said key drivers of the rating were the city's "superior socioeconomic profile" and that it "maintains health reserves" and has "financial flexibility" and a "manageable debt level."

But Fitch noted that the city's fire and police pension funds remain "severely underfunded."

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