BELLEVUE -- Standard and Poor's on Monday announced that it was bestowing its highest bond rating -- AAA -- on Bellevue's general obligation bonds.
The decision means the city's bonds are now rated at the highest levels by both Standard and Poor's and Moody's, the nation's two major financial rating services companies.
Standard and Poor's had previously rated the city's bonds AA+, its second highest rating; Moody's rates the city's bonds Aaa.
"This is a major accomplishment for the city, and yet another indicator of the city's continued strong fiscal stewardship," said Bellevue City Manager Steve Sarkozy.
Standard and Poor's action comes two days before the city is scheduled to issue $6.19 million in general obligation bonds to help pay for construction of Bellevue's new City Hall, which opened its doors last winter.
While the interest rate on those bonds will not be known until Wednesday, the rate is expected to be favorable for the city, according to Bellevue Finance Director Jan Hawn.
Gabriel Petek, credit analyst with Standard and Poor's, noted Bellevue's finances are "strong and well-managed." Over the years and with strong economic development trends, the city's property and sales tax base has expanded at consistent rates.
"City management has prudently recognized construction-related revenues as non-recurring and exercised considerable restraint with regard to increasing tax levies. The result is a structurally balanced budget with healthy reserves and a relatively high degree of potential for revenue increases should they become necessary."
The release also notes that Bellevue "fully participates in the Puget Sound economy," and the city's economy has fully recovered from the recession that occurred earlier in the decade. Like the region as a whole, the city's economy is comprised of a mix of industries, with retail and services the most prominent, the company noted.
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