With $30 million in bond sales coming up soon, St. Paul officials were very pleased this week when Standard & Poor’s reported it was keeping the top AAA rating on the city’s existing general obligation bonds.
The reaffirmation will help keep interest rates low for upcoming sales of bonds to finance street reconstruction, libraries and capital improvements.
S&P also reported slightly lower, but still high, “AA+ long term rating on the city’s leased-backed debt, issued by various issuers, reflecting our view of the city’s pledge to covenant and appropriate annual debt service payments.”
And the ratings house affirmed “its AA long-term rating to the city’s series of 2005 recreational facilities gross revenue bonds.
Said the report: “The outlook on all ratings is stable.”
S&P gave these assessments of the city’s economic outlook:
- Adequate economy, benefiting from participation in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area;
- Very strong budgetary flexibility, with available general fund reserves exceeding the city’s 15% policy;
- Strong budgetary performance, with a recent trend of at least balanced general fund operating results, and
projections for future balanced results, including in total governmental funds;
- Very strong liquidity, providing very strong cash levels to cover both debt service and expenditures;
- Very strong management, with strong financial policies;
- Adequate debt and liability position.
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, who was officially installed this week for his third-term, crowed about the ratings:
“Amidst an economy in recovery, we have made being good stewards of taxpayer dollars a priority, and Standard and Poor’s rating today reflects our success. This rating reflects the city’s strong budget, strong economy, and strong financial outlook. It comes after years of hard work and tough decisions and I couldn’t be prouder.”
And longtime City Council President Kathy Lantry said:
“Today’s announcement is the result of years of hard work. S&P’s rating is proof that what we are doing is working.”