The credit of the country may have been downgraded earlier this year, but Santa Monica still gets a top credit rating. Three major national credit rating agencies, Fitch Rating, Moody’s Investor Service, and Standard & Poor all renewed the City of Santa Monica’s triple-A credit rating. Our City’s high credit ratings save taxpayers’ money on bonding for capital projects.
Officially, Santa Monica got the AAA rating because of the City’s strong fiscal management, low debt levels and diverse economy.
“The affirmation of Santa Monica’s triple-A rating is a reflection of the City’s ongoing sound financial management and its commitment to controlling expenditures, as well as the community’s commitment to maintain our schools and services through the passage of Measures Y and YY,” proudly notes City Manager Rod Gould.
During November, City Manager Rod Gould toured the neighborhoods of Santa Monica on the “Can We Talk” tour, an opportunity for residents to talk directly to city staff about the future of Santa Monica. The City is “stable and solid,” Gould announced during the tour. Santa Monica’s budget is balanced through 2015, and we remain one of the most desirable places to live in California, while National Geographic chose Santa Monica as one of the Top 10 Beach Cities in the World. National Geographic notes, “With 3.5 miles (5.6 kilometers) of broad, sandy beaches, a fresh ocean breeze, and progressive vibe, Santa Monica has long been a magnet for the Hollywood set.”
With our powerful credentials, Santa Monica appealed for revised credit ratings as part of the debt financing for the reconstruction of downtown Parking Structure 6. Santa Monica’s rating is based on the City’s general obligation bonds in conjunction with the upcoming issuance by the Santa Monica Public Financing Authority of its Series 2011 Lease Revenue Bonds. Got it?
Good. The Series 2011 Bonds will be issued to finance a portion of the renovation of Parking Structure 6 and to refinance outstanding bonds of the City for debt service savings. The Series 2011 Bonds are rated AA+ by Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s and Aa1 by Moody’s Investors Service, the highest rating level assigned by the rating agencies on this type of bond. Bully 4 us.
The parking garages were approved by the city in the early ‘60s.
“The thing that I’m proudest of that we did while I was on the city council was to build all the parking garages in Downtown Santa Monica,” recalls former city council member John Bohn, founder of the Bradmore Group investment partnership. “Without all those parking garages, Santa Monica would just not be the same. Whether that can be done today with the high cost of property acquisition, I don’t know. We also had the vision for turning Third Street Promenade into a more pedestrian friendly place that was an attractive place to shop.”
Thanks the parking garages, Pier restoration, Water Garden, Santa Monica’s daytime population triples with people visiting, working and shopping in our city.
Fitch Ratings admired Santa Monica’s “very strong financial position, projected balanced operations and strong financial management,” our “prudent actions by management to pare expenditure growth” as well as our “vibrant retail and hospitality sectors and high income levels, in spite of recent recessionary pressures.”
Moody’s Investors Service attributes Santa Monica’s Aa1 rating to “robust financial management, characterized by conservative budgeting which helps address the risks posted by the prevalence of economically sensitive taxes that comprise the city’s revenues”.
No doubt they’ll throw a party to celebrate. It’s good to live in Santa Monica.
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