NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk once again received a prime bond rating from each of the three major rating agencies, which will allow the city to issue $22 million in bonds at favorable rates later this month, officials announced Friday.
“The highest rating will give us the lowest possible interest rate,” Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling said. He said he was “cautiously optimistic” that the interest rate the city would receive would be historically low.
Officials said they sought the rating in advance of a $22 million bond sale planned for June 30. The sale will finance $4,125,300 in school projects, $16,787,700 in city capital projects and $1,087,000 for urban renewal and redevelopment projects.
The city estimates that it saves $411,000 in interest by having the highest rating when compared with the second-highest rating. Standard & Poors' and Fitch Ratings calls AAA their highest rating, while Moody's Investor Service calls their highest rating Aaa.
The city has had those ratings with Fitch since 1993, S&P since 2000 and Moody’s since 2001.
Moody’s cited the Norwalk’s stable financial position; sizable and favorable tax base; significant development plans and strong management supported by formal policies as the city’s credit strengths. It listed the city’s planned increase in debt levels as the only credit challenge in its report.
“The Aaa rating reflects the city’s healthy financial position, supported by comprehensive fiscal policies, conservative management practices and improving fund balance levels, as well as a manageable debt position,” Moody’s report said. “The rating further considers the city’s strategically-positioned local economy and stable sizable tax base with continued growth opportunities from ongoing redevelopment efforts.”
The city has seen several development projects, including the Waypointe apartments downtown and the planned SoNo Collection mall in South Norwalk.
In terms of the city’s financial condition, Rilling said the city evaluates its finances several times a month and is always looking for cost savings.
“We’re always looking at ways to save,” Rilling said. “As those opportunities arise, we always jump to take advantage of them.”
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