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Newport receives highest credit rating

October 19, 2010

Newport Beach received the highest credit rating, AAA, and its upcoming bond issuance received AA ratings from major ratings agencies, the city reported Tuesday.

The high marks should help the city when it issues bonds for its Civic Center, a $130-million construction project that includes a park, a disaster preparedness center and a new city hall.

The financing plan for the Civic Center is more important than most public works projects. City officials have said they are hurrying the project through its construction schedule in order to meet a November deadline for the Build America Bonds program, a Department of Treasury stimulus measure intended to spur municipal capital improvement projects.

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“Bond ratings are indicators of fiscal conditions,” Mayor Keith Curry said in a statement. “They affect the interest cost on bonds, and, particularly important when it comes to municipal bonds — they reflect confidence that a public agency will remain strong and stable.”

The ratings agencies assess a municipality’s financial performance and policies, long-term financial planning tools, debt profile, management practices, legal safeguards, revenues and local economic conditions and demographics.

Standard & Poor’s and Fitch assigned a AA+ rating and Moody’s assigned a similar rating to the bond issuance, while all three agencies gave the city itself an AAA rating, the city reported. The firms will release more detailed reports by the end of October.

 

Mike Reicher

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