Standard & Poor's Raises Huntington Bond Rating

Updated 38 weeks ago Edited by Tony Rutherford from Multiple Reports
Mayor Steve Williams
Mayor Steve Williams

HUNTINGTON – City officials learned Monday, March 10, that the long-term credit rating for two series of revenue bonds have been raised to an “A” from a “BBB+” because of a stable financial outlook.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services raised the rating two notches on the Huntington Municipal Development Authority’s series 2010A and series 2010B bonds. The improved rating strengthens the City of Huntington’s borrowing power moving forward and provides reassurances to the city’s bond holders that their investments are safe, Mayor Steve Williams said.

“This is a validation of the fiscal policies that the administration and City Council have implemented in recent years,” Williams said. “Most importantly, it’s a validation of this City Council’s relationship with this administration. As we complete our deliberations of the 2014-2015 fiscal budget, we look forward to strengthening the fiscal condition of the city even further.”

Prefacing his statement with positive implications for the state, the Mayor explained "we are now West Virginia's second largest city but we will soon be the largest," Williams told council members Monday, March 10, "We are headed in the right direction. It's because of this body's agreement to step in this direction and the results of policies you have enacted."

Recalling the taut budget crisis in October 2011 which brought layoffs, furloughs, temporary fee hikes, and four day work weeks with pay cuts, Williams, a former investment adviser, stressed the A rating is considered "safe and reliable" and "worth placing in your portfolio." For instance, "Huntington is now eligible for our bond investments to be placed in pension (fund) investments."

The turnaround came through "aggressive and progressive" financial measures that demonstrated the city would eventually again "pay for itself" and "eventually (outsiders) would begin to notice that Huntington is moving forward in a way that others would want to emulate what we are doing."

According to a Moody's release the assessment reflects the following factors: An adequate economy benefiting from a broad  and diverse Huntington-Ashland metropolitan statistical area (MSA) with the stabilizing presence of Marshall University; adequate budget flexibility; strong liquidity for both debt service and expenditures; strong budgetary performance; adequate management conditions; and weak debt and contingent liabilities with major budgetary pressures from pension costs. (You can view the Moody's release as a PDF download.)

The series 2010A bonds totaled $3.65 million and are a refinancing package for a previous bond issue related to the Jean Dean Public Safety Building and the Big Sandy Superstore Arena. The series 2010B economic recovery bonds totaled $5.5 million and are for facility improvements at the arena.

  1. Moody's (315.6 KB)
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