Friday January 9, 2004
A leading Wall Street agency has given Louisville Metro Government its second highest credit rating, putting the new government among the highest rated local governments in America.
Fitch Ratings, one of the top Wall Street credit agencies, gave Louisville Metro Government a rating of AA plus, citing strong financial management, a low debt load, a strong, diverse local economy.
“With the merger of the two local governments, we anticipate there’s tremendous potential for improved financial performance and greater efficiencies,” said Joseph O’Keefe, leading Midwest analyst for Fitch Ratings.
The rating puts Louisville second only to San Diego, California, which is rated AAA, among the nation’s largest cities in the Fitch Ratings. “This is another independent assessment that the new government is in a stronger financial position as a result of steps taken during the first year of merged government,” said Mayor Jerry Abramson.
The Fitch rating is the first for the combined government. Last month, Standard & Poor’s, another of the nation’s top credit rating agencies, upgraded the old city of Louisville’s general obligation bond rating to AA from AA-.
The rating for Jefferson County remained the same, AA. Abramson, members of his administration and 12th District Metro Councilman Rick Blackwell, who chairs the Appropriations Committee, visited with rating agencies on Wall Street last year.
Abramson said the higher ratings from Fitch and Standard and Poor’s will allow the new government to issue bonds for new projects and infrastructure improvements at a lower cost in the future. Credit Ratings