FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :
Thursday, Jun 22, 2017
City of Little Rock Public Relations
Office (501) 371-4421
Media ReleasesContact(s): L. Lamor Williams
Little Rock sees second bond rating upgrade of 2017
LITTLE ROCK (June 21, 2017) – S&P Global Ratings has raised its underlying rating on the City of Little Rock’s Series 2003 capital improvement and refunding revenue bonds on downtown parking projects to ‘A-’ from ‘BBB+’ lauding the city’s solid financial health.
Series 2003 bond proceeds funded construction of the River Market parking garage and advance-refunded series 1997 bonds, which in turn funded the purchase the statehouse parking garage at the corner of Second and Main streets. Little Rock has $8.2 million of the 2003 bonds outstanding.
Securing the bonds are a pledge of gross revenues from the city's River Market garage and a facility at Second and Main streets, parking meter revenues, street repair revenues, parking fines, and a business license fee on car and truck rental companies.
The City’s various bond issues are usually rated by Standard & Poors (S&P) or Moody’s Investor Service or both. In February, Moody’s upgraded the City of Little Rock’s General Obligation Limited Tax Bonds to Aa1 from Aa2. The Aa1 rating is one step below the prime Aaa rating, said Finance Director Sara Lenehan.
A debt or credit rating is a financial indicator to potential investors of debt securities such as bonds. Both S&P and Moody’s utilize letter designations to represent the quality of a bond. S&P ratings range from AAA – D, with AAA indicating a prime rating and D indicating that the bond is in default.
For several years, S&P has rated the City’s general obligation debt at AA, indicating that the debt is “high grade.” This rating indicates that the City has very strong capacity to meet its financial commitments, said City Manager Bruce Moore.
“I’m proud to make this announcement,” Moore said. “Increased debt ratings lower interest rates, reduce the cost of debt issuance, and attract a broader market of potential investors. When competing on the global stage this makes our great city that much greater.”