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News Review
S&P, Moody’s and Fitch Affirm City of Coral Gables’ AAA Bond Rating
Posted Date: 5/16/2018

AAA

(L-R) Coral Gables Finance Director Diana Gomez, Coral Gables City Manager Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark, and Coral Gables Assistant Finance Director for Management & Budget Keith Kleiman.

- Coral Gables is one of only three municipalities in the state of Florida with the highest bond ratings from big three rating agencies -

The City of Coral Gables has once again earned the highest bond ratings possible from three of the nation’s most respected financial rating agencies: Standard & Poor’s (S&P), Moody’s and Fitch Ratings. The rating agencies affirmed the City of Coral Gables’ AAA rating in advance of the city’s planned sale of approximately $86 million in bonds.

Additionally, S&P assigned AAA rating to these Capital Improvement Bonds, while Moody’s assigned Aa1 and Fitch assigned AA+ rating to these bonds. The one-notch distinction between the issuer credit rating and the rating assigned to the capital improvement bonds from Moody’s and Fitch is because their rating methodology requires a one-notch difference as a result of the more limited pledge of non-ad valorem revenues on the bonds. Each of these ratings are the highest achievable for Capital Improvement Bonds of this nature.

“By affirming the AAA rating, the three rating agencies also affirm: the sustainability of our financial practices; the strength and stability of our management team; the legitimacy of our Strategic Plan; the diversity of our economic base; and the long-term health of our real estate market,” said Coral Gables City Manager Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark.

“The Finance Department is celebrating the confidence and support the City Commission and City Manager have given us as we have implemented our conservative financial management policies,” said Coral Gables Finance Director Diana Gomez.

Last month, the City Commission authorized the negotiation of two loans totaling $86 million from the Sunshine State Governmental Financing Commission: one for $50 million for the construction of a new public safety building, and the second for $36 million to refinance (for more favorable loan terms) the Series 2012 Refunding Revenue Bonds.

In affirming the bond rating, S&P notes “The stable outlook reflects our view that Coral Gables’ very strong underlying economy and strong management will support the city’s very strong financial position. As such, we do not anticipate changing the rating over the two-year outlook horizon.”

Moody’s rating also notes that “The Aaa issuer rating (GOULT equivalent) reflects the city’s healthy financial position bolstered by strong liquidity, substantial and expanding tax base with significant institutional presence, wealthy socioeconomic profile, low debt burden, and moderate pension liability.”

Similarly, Fitch recognized that “The city retains an exceptional capacity to manage risks associated with a normal economic cycle given the combination of its substantial reserves, prudent budgetary management, and legal revenue raising capacity.”

The City of Coral Gables is planning the constructing of a new Public Safety Building for essential services such as police, fire, emergency management, 911/dispatch, Crime Intelligence Center, information technology, human resources and labor relations. A City parking lot at Salzedo and Alcazar, and portions of an adjacent lot, will be the site of a new five-story, state-of-the-art building designed for a 100 year hurricane that replaces a deteriorating facility at 2801 Salzedo Street.

In the state of Florida, the City of Coral Gables (population 51,000) shares the exclusive “triple-triple” AAA rating from the top three rating agencies with the Town of Jupiter (population 63,000) and the City of Boca Raton (population 74,000). These three top-rated municipalities also share a Council/Manager form of government, where the elected governing body is responsible for policy direction and the appointed professional manager serves as Chief Executive Officer of the respective municipality.