Ferguson, Missouri: The City of Ferguson has received an Aa3 bond rating from Moody’s Investors Service for the issuance of $8 million General Obligation Bonds, Series 2011. The City’s financial advisor, Joy Howard of WM Financial Strategies, indicated that the rating is a testimony to the City’s strong financial condition and excellent management. In 2002, the City’s Certificates of Participation were rated A2 by Moody’s.
Moody’s rating report cited the stability of the City’s moderately sized $918 million tax base; manageable debt position; and favorable financial operations marked by a healthy reserve of 72% of revenues as key reasons for the positive rating. Moody’s report also stated “We expect the city’s financial operations will likely remain satisfactory due to the presence of sound reserves and strong fiscal oversight. The City has recorded operating surpluses annually since fiscal 2005.”
City Manager John Shaw was pleased with the report from Moody’s stating “the City Council and City staff have worked diligently in recent years to ensure the City remains in sound financial condition to allow us to successfully weather an economic downturn such as the one we are currently experiencing. The rating from Moody’s has confirmed the appropriateness of our strategy and positioned us well for the bond sale. This rating is expected to save our residents approximately $1,000,000 in property taxes over the life of the bonds compared to our original estimates.” To further ensure the lowest cost of financing, the City will select the bond underwriter by competitive bidding. The sale is scheduled for September 13.
The proceeds of the bond sale will be used to replace the City’s Fire Station #1 that was constructed in 1952 and is located adjacent to City Hall. The new Fire Station will be located in the City’s central business district next to the Police Station. The new station will replace a blighted building presently located on the site. The City plans to break ground on the new Fire Station before the first of the year with construction expected to take approximately one year.