Mayor Rilling announced today that the City of Norwalk has received confirmation from the three major rating agencies, Moody’s Investors Service, S&P Global Ratings, and Fitch Ratings that each have reaffirmed the city’s “triple A” bond rating with a stable outlook.
The city sought these ratings in advance of a $35.0 million bond sale planned for July 18, 2017. This sale will finance $20,867,330 in city capital projects; $8,477,470 in school projects; and $5,655,200 for urban renewal/redevelopment projects.
The Aaa rating from Moody’s and the AAA ratings from Standard & Poor’s and Fitch represent the highest ratings awarded by each of these agencies. As a result of carrying the best credit rating available, Norwalk taxpayers are assured of receiving the most favorable interest rates available in the market when the city issues bonds to finance capital projects. For this bond issue, the city expects to save $781,000 in interest expense, compared to the rates that the city would achieve if it held a lower “double A” rating.
The rating reports issued by the three credit rating agencies present a thorough, objective, and independent analysis of the city’s financial operations and credit strength:
Standard and Poor’s reports, “We view the city’s management as very strong, with ‘strong’ financial policies and practices under our FMA [Financial Management Assessment] methodology, indicating financial practices are strong, well embedded, and likely sustainable.” The agency goes on to say, “Norwalk’s budgetary performance is strong in our opinion” and that, “…we are unlikely to revise the rating during our two-year outlook period.”
Moody’s reports, “The Aaa rating reflects the city’s healthy financial position and improving fund balance, supported by comprehensive fiscal policies, conservative management practices, as well as manageable debt and pension burdens. The rating further considers the city’s strategically positioned local economy and stable sizeable tax base supported by a significant development pipeline.”
Fitch reports, “…the city will continue to maintain strong reserves levels throughout an economic cycle given its historically stable revenue performance, high degree of inherent budget flexibility, and demonstrated commitment to maintaining sound reserves within policy levels of 7.5% - 15% of revenues.” Also that, “the rating is sensitive to shifts in the city’s strong financial management practices and maintenance of fundamental financial flexibility.”
All Norwalk residents, city management along with elected and appointed officials can take pride in Norwalk’s superior credit rating, which is now being put to good use as it invests in important city infrastructure, urban renewal, facilities and school construction projects.