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City keeps top bond rating from Fitch

Fitch Ratings today announced it has assigned its top-level "AAA" rating to new general obligation bonds Evanstion is scheduled to issue this year and is maintaining its "AAA" rating on the city’s $151.5 million in bonds already outstanding.

Fitch Ratings today announced it has assigned its top-level "AAA" rating to new general obligation bonds Evanstion is scheduled to issue this year and is maintaining its "AAA" rating on the city’s $151.5 million in bonds already outstanding.

A Fitch news release said the rating outlook for the city is "stable" and that a key driver for the continued high rating was "the city’s ability to restore financial equilibrium while adequately addressing its severely under-funded pension system especially given the general malaise of the current economic climate."

As positives for the city’s ability to pay its bills, the firm noted that:

  • Residents display a superior socioeconomic profile reflecting high wealth, employment and education levels.
  • Evanston’s advantageous location provides abundant employment opportunities both within the city and throughout the Chicago metropolitan region although cyclical economic pressure is currently evident.
  • Despite generating operating deficits after transfers for three consecutive years, the city still maintains sound reserves and furthermore, management has taken meaningful steps to restore long-term structure balance.

It also praised the city’s efforts to reduce spending during the recession through layoffs and unpaid holidays.

Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the city’s debt by one notch, to its "Aa1" rating, over two-and-a-half years ago. There’s no word so far of any change in Moody’s assessment of the city’s creditworthiness. 

Related link

Fitch news release

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